Friday, February 16, 2018

Poetry Friday- Voices in the Air and Between the Lines

35068790Nye, Naomi Shihab. Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners
February 13th 2018 by Greenwillow Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

This new collection of poems from the wonderful Nye is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, when she is good, she makes me cry. Her Honeybee and A Maze Me are always the first books to check out when the seventh grade does their poetry unit. She excels at taking every day experiences and imbuing them with the universal truths that make poetry so touching. Even though she writes in free verse (of which I am not a huge fan), her language is still poetic, and her poems do not sound like prose chopped up into random lines. Trust me, that's huge praise from me. I'm hypercritical of poetry.

On the other hand, a lot of the poems tend toward the political, and even more of them mention other poets. On a personal level, I loved this, especially since there is a description of the people mentioned at the back. For students, however, this will make the poetry harder to understand. I will probably buy a copy of the book, but only one, and it will not be the hit that her books of poetry for younger readers are.

In addition to the poem below, A Lonely Cup of Coffee is fantastic. It deserves to be printed on mugs.

Unsung- On Finding (From the uncorrected ARC)

From where this box of pink & purple yarns?
               Skeins not even tangled
        Recipes for baby jackets booties
Saluting your good intentions    oh someone
  honoring your high hopes    neatly packed in a box
            future promise on a shelf     in our shed
             (How did this get into our shed?)
But give it away   because we know we will never
                                                        on any day     of any future year
                                                                 do this

33357465Grimes, Nikki. Between the Lines
February 13th 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Darrian really wants to be a news reporter, and a teacher suggests that if he really wants to learn to write, he should investigate poetry. He signs up for a poetry class in high school where all of the students are working toward doing a poetry slam. They all have different issues (negligent parents, parents out of work, foster care, etc.) but use poetry to help understand their world and the other students. The chapters alternate between characters, and the poems written by the students for assignments are included.
Strengths: I liked that this is set in a high school, but there isn't any inappropriate language or situations. There is some tentative romance, lots of problems with home life, and a lot of interest in writing. The cover is really nice.
Weaknesses: I wish the poems had all been in different, distinctive voices the way that Frost did in Keesha's House. All the poems sounded the same to me.
What I really think: This just didn't do much for me. This is most likely because I tried to write poetry in high school and college, and while I had some success, writing poetry or going in to journalism is a cruel thing to encourage a student to do for a career.

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