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Poetry book targets teens

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

Poetry isn’t often popular among teens, but perhaps it’s because they haven’t heard the words that speak directly to their experiences and feelings.

Editor Elise Paschen collected more than 100 poems, ranging from “antiquated” writers like Shakespeare, to the some of the freshest writers in verse, like Billy Collins. In fact, pages 32 and 33 act as a comparison of past and present expressions of relationship, with Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130” (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips red …”) and Collins’ “Litany” (“You are the dew on the morning grass and the burning wheel of the sun”). Other pairings also portray the difference between classic and contemporary poems, showing readers how poets have wrestled with, and presented, similar subjects throughout the ages.

Poets include Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Ogden Nash, Syvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, W.B. Yeats, Joy Harjo, Maya Angelou, N. Scott Momaday, Sandra Cisneros and more.

The poetry by renowned authors runs the gamut of emotion and topics, from first kisses and bra shopping to loneliness, love and hatred. And it’s no wonder the poems hit home: Paschen has a keen eye – she also edited “Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat,” a New York Times bestseller.

As publisher Dominique Raccah points out in her introduction, most collections of poetry target either children or adults; there has been nothing in-between – until now.

However, the raw exposition of the poems can easily rouse adults’ interest, bringing them back to sensual emotion, and humor.

The book is meant to pique interest (it even contains fun pages to fill with inspiration of one’s own) rather than demand kids to delve into complex themes and meanings or memorize lines.

And, perhaps the best part of the book involves the accompanying 63-minute CD, which contains 47 of the poems, immersing listeners in the rhythm and power of the authors’ spoken voices.


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