Book Review: Poetry Speaks Who I Am ed. by Elisa Paschen

Last week, Libby brought you her review of the new book Poetry Speaks Who I Am. Today, it’s my turn.

I won’t take up a lot of your time, since Libby pretty much covered my thoughts in her review, but here’s an excerpt from my review on

Many of the poems are famous in their own rights, though teens may not find them outside of a classroom (if at all) — poems such as Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled,” Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”), Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” and John Keats’ “When I have fears that I may cease to be.”

Other poems speak to contemporary topics that tweens and teens find most interesting — such as the fairy tale theme in Ron Koertge’s “Cinderella’s Diary” and the ever-popular vampires featured in Dana Gioia’s “Vampire’s Serenade.”

And other poems address themes and issues that tween and teen readers may be facing themselves: fitting in, first love, peer pressure, changing bodies, etc. Poems such as Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education,” Rebecca Lauren’s “In the Fifth-Grade Locker Room” and Allison Joseph’s “Caroline” are all just a sampling of the poems that fit into this category.

Needless to say, Poetry Speaks Who I Am is pretty much a perfect collection of poems for readers of any age, but especially for tweens, teens and those new to the genre. It features some of the greats, some of the classics, and some of the modern writers — but all of the poems speak to today’s readers.

[ … ]

What’s more, Poetry Speaks Who I Am also features blank pages in the back, where teens can write their own poetry. The book’s design also speaks to younger readers — with the pages created to look like they belong in a teenager’s notebook, with scribbles and doodles around the edges. Poetry Speaks Who I Am also comes with a CD featuring many of the poets reading their own work. This adds yet another dimension to the experience of poetry, which is sometimes considered a performance art more than anything else.

[ … ] It is the perfect book to introduce tween and teen readers to poetry, and help them develop a lifelong love of the writing form. It’s also perfect timing, since April is National Poetry Month.

Poetry Speaks Who I Am is in stores tomorrow, April 6th — but you can win a copy of this book and others in Novel Novice’s Poetry Contest. Entries are due April 27th!


One thought on “Book Review: Poetry Speaks Who I Am ed. by Elisa Paschen

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  1. i absolutly love this poem it is like he was talking to my soul like an animal also i would love to sleep with the poem playing so that i can dream about what heis talking about i like to visulize about the poem

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