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Monday, February 11, 2019
Sharing a review of IMPERFECT from the American Library Association's Booklist Online. The review is in a wonderful article by Sylvia Vardell called "Books and Authors: 500 Reasons to Explore Poetry Anthologies":
Professor Vardell says:
Professor Vardell says:
The poems and poets in these anthologies offer a range of poetic forms, subjects, and perspectives from which readers of all ages can take inspiration.
If you were to spend approximately $100 and order the poetry anthologies featured here, you would have access to 500 different poets who write for young people. 500! Who knew there were so many classic and contemporary poets to seek out and savor? The recent resurgence of the poetry anthology provides a valuable resource when it comes to celebrating diversity in literature. The editors of these current poetry collections have actively sought out many new poets, offering new perspectives on a variety of themes and topics. It’s also interesting to see the diverse forms that these anthologies can take: blending poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and providing cross-genre connections so important for teaching; maximizing the picture-book format with illustrations that can inspire each poet or provide a unifying theme for the poetry; or eschewing art and illustrations to focus on poetry exclusively.
Many of these outstanding new collections are the creations of new or small presses taking risks to reach poetry readers. And many new voices make their first appearance in a poetry collection or anthology. In sharing these poetry anthologies, we can provide opportunities to meet new writers, new poetic forms and styles, and new ways to approach themes and topics and perhaps inspire young readers to create their own collections of favorite poems.
Poetry for Older Readers
Imperfect: Poems about Mistakes: An Anthology for Middle Schoolers. Ed. by Tabatha Yeatts. 2018. History House, $11.99 (9780967915838). Gr. 5–8.
This slim volume, geared toward middle-graders, packs a lot of punch. Featuring 70 poems by 55 different poets, it includes many new poets, such as Linda Kulp Trout, Catherine Flynn, and Robert Schechter, alongside a handful of classic poets like Carl Sandburg, Kobayashi Issa, and Antonio Machado. There are even a selection of poems written by young people themselves (in sixth and seventh grade). The focus on making mistakes of all kinds is the “perfect” focus for an anthology aimed at tweens and teens, and the poets approach the topic from both serious and silly points of view. Extra resources at the back of the book offer helpful advice for the reader, including “Making Good Decisions: Brainstorming for Future You,” with very practical tips; “Apologizing Effectively,” with step-by-step guidance on making sincere apologies; and “Poem Forms You Can Try,” with options for poetry writing, including acrostic, diamante, double dactyl, and poems for two voices. Pithy quotes and minimal art are subtly placed throughout the poems, including the sketch of a crack (in the vase on the cover) on many pages, hinting at the “mending” of imperfection the Japanese call “kintsugi,” or “precious scars” or “golden repair,” a way to see the beauty in fixing what is broken. A lively blog dedicated to the book (MistakesAnthology.Blogspot.com) continues to offer insights and quotes, along with links to each of the poets with more poems to enjoy. Some of my favorite poems in this engaging collection include:
"Apology,” by Robert Schechter, with a multitude of synonyms for mistake;
“A Note from the Architect,” by Mary Lee Hahn, a spin on creating the Leaning Tower of Pisa;
“Sea Hunt,” by Steven K. Smith, a narrative poem about discovering one’s passion; and
“Stolen,” by Elizabeth Steinglass, a look at how shoplifting might make you feel.