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Themes

Any time you've got a poem about a body part, chances are that you're going to be reading quite a bit about what that part looks like and how it moves in the world. As "homage to my hips" proves, though, appearances are only skin deep. Clifton delights in documenting her speaker's "big" hips because they don't conform to societal standards of beauty. As far as her speaker is concerned, bigger is better – and she's ready to tell us precisely why that's the case.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Do you think that the speaker feels as strongly about other parts of her body? Why or why not?
  2. What do you imagine these hips look like? What are they wearing? How do they look walking down the street?
  3. List all the adjectives that the speaker uses to describe her hips. How do they all contribute to your understanding of her appearance?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although "homage to my hips" is a poem about a body part, it strategically withholds any actual descriptions of the hips in order to challenge readers' notions of physical beauty.

This poem offers vivid descriptions of the speaker's hips, which helps readers imagine how her hips contribute to her overall body image.

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