I’m not a regular reader of poetry, and I don’t remember a time when I really was, save a short fascination with the works of Shel Silverstein. But I do love the opportunity to focus on poetry in the month of April, which has been declared National Poetry Month. We kick it off with a giveaway today, and look for more throughout the month.
A high school boyfriend either did read poetry or I assumed him to (you know the type), and I bought him some giant compilation of love poems, marking the ones that I thought applied to our love. Yeah, poetry and high school “love” go together pretty well trying to expressing the inexpressible, fraught with emotion. Embarrassing teenage love gifts aside, I remember memorizing some poems for school and competing a few times in the poetry section of our speech meets. But it never really grabbed me.
But if poetry is going to take hold to someone’s heart — and isn’t that what happens for those who truly love poetry? — it seems that the junior high and high school years are a wonderful time for that to happen, illustrated perfectly in “How I Discovered Poetry” a poem by Marilyn Nelson.
The introduction to the book, which you can read in the excerpt tab at the Sourcebooks page is also a great testament as to why poetry speaks to teens.
Poetry Speaks Who I Am is aimed at tweens and teens. I would say that high school and up is probably most appropriate, because there are some poems about teen angst and kissing (plus). But there are some poems that you could definitely share with your tween. I couldn’t resist telling Amanda to read the funny-to-me-but-maybe-not-to-her “Bra Shopping” by Parneshia Jones.
“What We Might Be, What We Are,” by X.J. Kennedy has an upbeat meter, and interesting comparisons, that ends in a bit of a head-scratching way, leaving me to ponder the meaning.
This volume is filled with poems from contemporary and classic poets: one from Shakespeare himself, a few from Langston Hughes (who I enjoy reading whenever I come across them), and a few from Robert Frost that while they are so very familiar, when read within the context of the subtitle of this book, Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else,, well — “that has made all the difference.”
Another bonus is a CD containing some of the poems ead by the poets themselves. Some are lacking in style, but a few really come to life when read in the author’s own voice. It’s a good accompaniment.
We have a copy available to one of you. Please leave a comment if you would like to receive Poetry Speaks Who I Am (U.S. shipping addresses only). We’ll announce the winner in our giveaway review post on April 14.
Jennifer doesn’t read poetry a lot.
She thought she’d give this book a shot.
Jennifer blogs at Snapshot.