April is National Poetry Month, so let’s celebrate by listening to teen poets! Young poets are the best writers to invite other teens into the power of words to share lives, emotions, and sort out the daily rollercoaster of growing up and coming of age. We love these two collections, both edited by Betsey Franci.
You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boysedited by Betsy Franco
These are uncensored freeverse poems by teen-aged boys from across the country. Listen to 12-year-old Quantedius Hall’s first stanza-”Time Somebody Told Me/That I am lovely, good and real/That I am beautiful inside/If they only knew/How that would make me feel.” The boys are young to older teens and share their genuine feeling, hopes, fears, attitudes. Definitely some of the raw parts of their lives are included. The poems spark genuine connections for boys–and girls–12 years and older. Some genuinely gifted poets here!
Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls edited by Betsy Franci
A collection of 30 poems and short writings, accompanied by poignant and beautiful black and white photos. The images make the collection feel almost like looking at a photo album/journal with invitations into the lives, dreams, griefs, and celebrations of girls in all corners of the nation. Like in the boys’ collection, there’s some raw and gritty language–and also some amazing poetic insights and turns of phrase. Like this: “we put on our chatter/like red lipstick/with the same amount/of greasy enthusiasm.” A terrific companion book to You Hear Me?