Poetry is for Everyone: A Review of POETRY SPEAKS WHO I AM

~posted by Ruth

Poetry Speaks Who I Am:  Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else edited by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raccah.

Here’s a collection to dive into and find the poem that grabs you.  It might be a different one today than tomorrow, depending on your mood, your particular interests, and more importantly, what you’re experiencing right now.  The editors did a remarkable job of choosing over a hundred poems for young adolescents, including both classic and contemporary works—and even  a CD with poets reading from their own work.

This collection will help tweens and teens come to the realization that poetry is for everyone.  I can’t imagine a reader dipping into this book without finding at least one poem that speaks directly to him or her.   There are poems that will bring a smile, that will knock you for a loop, that will raise your blood pressure, or soothe your nerves.  One day you  might be drawn in by a classic poem by Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe, or Emily Dickenson.  Another day might bring you to Joy Harjo’s ode to the kitchen table, or Ron  Koertge imagining Cinderella after the ball:

Cinderella’s Diary
Ron Koertge
I miss my stepmother. What a thing to say
but it’s true. The prince is so boring: four
hours to dress and then the cheering throngs.
Again. The page who holds the door is cute
enough to eat. Where is he once Mr. Charming
kisses my forehead goodnight?

Every morning I gaze out a casement window
at the hunters, dark men with blood on their
boots who joke and mount, their black trousers
straining, rough beards, callused hands, selfish,
abrupt…

Oh, dear diary-I am lost in ever after:
Those insufferable birds, someone in every
room with a lute, the queen calling me to look
at another painting of her son, this time
holding the transparent slipper I wish
I’d never seen.

With Shakespeare on one page, and Billy Collins on the next,  this is a collection to return to again and again, savoring the sweet surprises and soon-to be favorites.  It could be just the book to inspire the poet in your young readers.  The perfect choice for Celebrating Poetry Month!

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