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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Falling Hard, edited by Betsy Franco. Candlewick, Random House.2008. $9.00 ages 12 and up

"Tilt the halo over my head
I don't care what the caution tape read
It's time to get a little dangerous
Let's fall in love.

Rachel McCarren, age 15"

I'm always on the lookout for poetry books to hand to teens who love words. These poems are all written by those teens...there are one hundred of them and 'the writers are straight, gay, lesbian, bi or transgender; they live next door or across the ocean; they are innocent or experienced.' They explore love in its many nuances and show those adults who read their words that they are aware of its many ironies and inconsistencies, its contradictions and mixed emotions. They talk about love of  many types - thrilling and calm, given and not returned, full of hope and without hope, and they share their emotions so powerfully felt.

Only four have been published prior to this anthology. Betsy Franco gathered most through emails and knew little about the poets themselves while she was accepting their work.  Names and ages are given (they range from twelve to eighteen). The poets come from different cultures, religions and communities. The styles are wide-ranging, and run the gamut from free verse to rap. Some are short, others are lengthy. 

It's a collection sure to inspire young writers and would-be poets. It is my hope that it will encourage them to 'give it a go'. They will be inspired by the honesty, the angst, the humor and the fact that others lead the way.

"It was good
then it wasn't
He was nice
then he wasn't
I was okay
then I wasn't
We both loved
then we didn't
It was always there
but it never happened

Disaster, age 13"

"Then there's *Phil. That's when I'm in white mode because
our relationship is so blank. He's next on my hit list!
And last but not least, there's *Sam. He's my
favorite out of the love line. When I'm with him,
I'm the whole color spectrum!

Larelle King, age 15"

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