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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poetry Speaks Who I Am, edited by Elise Paschen. Sourcebooks, Raincoast. 2010. $23.99 ages 13 and up

"A Dog on His Master
           -Billy Collins

As young as I look,
I am growing older faster than he,
seven to one
is the ratio they tend to say.

Whatever the number,
I will pass him one day
and take the lead
the way I do on our walks in the woods."

This is a poetry anthology written for middle and high school students and we learn that right away:

"It is a highly unusual collection - coming-of-age moments caught next to classics next to grieving, kitchen tables, Cinderella, dragons, and school periods."

An invitation is issued:

'live a while with these poems'

They range from the classic to the contemporary, and have a multicultural element. They are specifically chosen to mirror the feelings, emotions, events and issues of young adults. Some are meant to be read aloud with emotion and others have a more personal and solitary feel. The accompanying CD allows readers to hear many of the poems read by the poets themselves, offering a chance to hear the poem spoken as it was written.

Readers are encouraged to listen, to try reading the poetry on their own and then perhaps to try their hand at making their own voices heard. Some end pages are left for personal attempts at giving voice to feelings and observations. This lovely, welcome book  provides incentive and inspiration, humor and relief that others share many of the same experiences.

Do you remember?

     by wendy cope

My heart has made its mind up
And I'm afraid it's you.
Whatever you've got lined up,
my heart has made its mind up
And if you can't be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
And I'm afraid it's you."

Poetry is often ignored at home and in classrooms. Why? What is your experience with poetry?

As April nears and with it a celebration of poets and their work, I want to be in a procession with Janet Wong who notes:

"We believe that poetry- more than any other genre - has the ability to delight, capture, and 'level the playing field' for readers and writers of all ages and abilities. We want kids to be able to hear a poem, read it if they wish, enjoy it and not have to pick it apart in a homework assignment. Hearing poetry is key to falling in love with it."

Check out Poetry Tag Time and then get 30 poems in 30 days on your Kindle or other e-reader. It will be available on April 1.

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