American Life in Poetry: Column 180


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 eleven-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 great-great-great-grandfather.
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.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry
Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry
magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 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. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser,
served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the
Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept
unsolicited manuscripts.