This is a collection of poems by Adrienne Rich between 1998 – 2000 that includes dialogues between poets and artists, refers to poetry and history, and calls up feelings and visions. Although written in a simple style, these are messages that require one to visualize and contemplate their meaning – not light, airy, quick reads.
Katrina Katrell has a lot of imagination, which unfortunately her guardian Mrs. Krabone can not stand. She has finally had enough and invites Dr. LeFang, the Lobotomy Doc, to take care of Katrina. Katrina decides to run away (understandably). Mortimer Yorgle, or Morty for short, is a Zorgle from Underwood Bluff. His pop is a great explorer and adventure, but Morty likes to stay close to home. Unfortunately, he receives a lottery ticket for the lottery draw. This draw is not for cash or prizes, but for adventure and quest. The Zorgles of Zorgamazoo have vanished and Morty is given the task of finding them. Along the way he meets Katrina and they decide to do the task together. What they discover will shock and amaze you. It is all about boredom and tedium and all things gray.
It takes a lot of creativity and guts to write an entire novel in rhyme, but Zorgamazoo is worth it. Katrina is just what you want in a spunky, young heroine, and Morty just seems so lovable and courageous. The others in the story are equally imaginative and fun. This is a wonderful adventure story and would definitely be fun to read aloud.
This is a very whimsical children’s poetry book about books with fun titles like “Calling all Readers,” “A Character Pleads for his Life,” “On the Shelf and Under the Bed,” “Paper Sky, Bookplate,” and “I’ve got this covered” just to name a few. Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore! My daughter and I took turns reading the twenty-one poems aloud to each other and found ourselves giggling until the very end.
Grow is a novel in verse. Twelve-year-old Katie tells the story of the summer she helped Berneetha start a garden in their urban community. The poems describe how they cleaned up a vacant lot, how they planted their garden, how they got other members of the community involved and how friendships developed over the summer. It is a beautiful story not just about Katie and Berneetha, but about Harlan. Harlan is a young boy with an abusive father who finds his place in the garden with Katie and Berneetha. It is also the story of how the community came together to create a green space in the middle of the concrete jungle.
Free verse poetry is used to record the reactions of various students, fellow teachers and community members to the murder of one of the teachers at Tower High School. Eventually, the killer is revealed.
Although the book was written in 1996, the subject of campus killings couldn’t be more relevant. Glenn’s characters are rather stereotypical, but at the least they represent a cross-section of a typical urban high school. No one is perfect, and this point is well made. Particularly interesting is a side-by-side comparison of reactions from twins- opposing views offered in a nearly identical manner. The murderer, however, is a mashup of traits and activities society enjoys associating with violent behavior. I’m surprised tattoos weren’t involved. Overall, an interesting read.
A family is attacked in their home by a drug crazed madman. They all survive, even though the dad has a heart attack during the attack, but they are not the same. Mom and dad see the attack as a wake up call and focus more on each other. The three kids do not do so well. Mimi, the oldest, is going through a divorce and she shuts down. She spends her days in front of the tv. Jeremy, who hid in the basement during the attack, becomes withdrawn and begins stalking a girl from school. Fifteen year old Paulie starts dating a college stoner and sneaking out of the house. She has nightmares and is now scared of the dark. Their stories are told in alternating poems from Jeremy and Paulie.
This was a story about a family dealing with tragedy. Instead of bringing them together it splintered them into separate beings. Each went their own way and retreated from life. It is a tragic story, but beautifully told. I think the free verse style really works here. The sparse language really drives home the emotions of Jeremy and Paulie.
I fell in love with poet David Lee the very first time I read him! The people he talks about in his poetry are all people I have known in my lifetime at one time or another. He uses the vernacular of the people of his region which makes his writing all the more interesting and humorous. If you’ve never read David Lee I highly recommend him. If nothing else please check out his poem “Pain” on page 266. It really hits home!