Maya Angelou is one of the world’s greatest poets. Brave and Startling Truth is one of her most inspiring books of poetry. Highly recommended.
This first book of poems dwells in lived experience-women and farms, women and men,raising kids, cooking bread, the front porch, the marriage bed. Terry Song has an uncanny ear for real voices.
This a very good selection of teen-age poems showing their thoughts and feelings. Some mentioned others who were writing, but most were entirely about their own thoughts. These poems show how teens work out changes from childhood to growing into adulthood – the problems in between. There were teen pictures also, that seemed to fit the poems, but were really taken by an assistant principal for science in a different high school. It is easy to go mentally back into that age while reading these poems.
The events of the Salem Witch Trials are fairly well known. Young girls started having fits and claimed to be attacked by witches. Many were accused, some died, but most were eventually freed. We do not know what motivated these girls to accuse so many (around 200) people of cavorting with the devil. Hemphill attempts to shed light on what might have driven these girls down such a path. She uses the voices of three of the afflicted, Mercy, Margaret and Ann, to tell the story of Salem. In Wicked Girls, the girls are not being attacked by the devil, but are acting in order to gain status and attention in the town. It all starts out as a game as they accuse those who have wronged them or their families. But remorse sets in when people actually start to die because of their accusations. This novel in verse very accurately captures the paranoia and frenzy that infected the area. It shows how lives were ruined and communities divided.
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.
I’m not a huge fan of James Merrill. His poems are difficult to read and difficult to understand.
I like Jan Hirschfeld’s poetry because of her extreme imagery even though she is a little hard to understand at times.
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.
Denise Levertov one of my favorite poets. I read this collection with a touch of melancholy knowing that these were the last poems she wrote before she passed away.
Frank Gaspar writes excellent prose!
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.