American Life in Poetry

Sep 11th, 2008 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, September 11, 2008

What’s in a name? All of us have thought at one time or another about our names, perhaps asking why they were given to us, or finding meanings within them. Here Emmett Tenorio Melendez, an 11-year-old poet from San Antonio, Texas, proudly presents us with his name and its meaning.

My name came from…

My name came from my


He was an Indian from

the Choctaw tribe.

His name was Dark Ant.

When he went to get a job out in a city

he changed it to Emmett.

And his whole name was

Emmett Perez Tenorio.

And my name means: Ant; Strong;

Carry twice

its size.

Poem copyright (c) 2000 by Emmett Tenorio Melendez. Reprinted from “Salting The Ocean: 100 Poems By Young Poets,” Greenwillow Books, 2000, by permission of the editor. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. This column is made possible by the Poetry Foundation ( and supported by the UNL Department of English. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

By Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006

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