Little Girl

By: Tami Haaland

Biographic Information

Tami Haaland was a relatively unknown poet until she became a professor at Montana State University Biling in1994. There she composed her first book of poetry entitled, "Breath in Every Room," which won the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press. She then began teaching creative writing at the Montana Woman's prison, and even launched a writing project at a local elementary school to help children freely express their feelings through creative writing. Haaland continues these duties to this day and prefers to live a humble life in Montana.

Little Girl

She's with Grandma in front

of Grandma's house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses

Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed

No doubt mother frowns

behind the lens, wants

to straighten this sassy face.

Little Girl (Continued)

Maybe laughs, too.

Little girl with her mouth wide,

tounge out, yelling

at the camera. See her little

white purse full of treasure,

her white sandals?

She has things to do,

you can tell. Places to explore

beyond the frame,

and these women picking flowers

and taking pictures.

Why won't they let her go?


The first stanza of the poem is setting the scene. It talks about where the girl is; standing in front of her grandma's house, in front of a willow tree. The second stanza talks about how the little girl is happy. It says that her grandmother is happy with her, but she is also a little annoyed by her. The third stanza talks about how the little girl's own mother is a little annoyed with her too. She is annoyed because the little girl won't make a suitable face for the camera. However, in the fourth stanza it says that the mother finds it amusing as well, and laughs at the girl's expression. In the fifth stanza it talks more about how the girl looks. She is wearing white sandals and holding a small purse full of items she deems important. I think these treasures in her purse symbolize her skills and potential she has to be something great. In the sixth stanza the poet is kinda of looking through the lens at the girl and telling the audience that the girl looks like she has other things to do than to take the picture. Lastly, the seventh stanza discusses why the little girl is being forced to take the picture in the first place. It leaves you with the impression that the little girl is being forced to take these picture and her grandma and mother are holding her back from other things she could be doing.


The theme of this poem is growing up. I think the poem revolves around whether the girl wants to or not, and if she should grow up or not. Also that her grandma and mother are holding her back from things she could be accomplishing with all her potential. This little girl has places to explore "beyond the frame" but her grandma and mother are keeping her inside that frame and trying to capture pictures of her. They want her to become the visual image they have for her, when she has a mind of her own and all kinds of potential where she could do great things, out of the ordinary.
Growing Up - Infographic