VOICES by Barbara Brenner
Kirkus Star


Poetry and Art from Around the World
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Age Range: 8 & up
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“Our garden / doesn’t spread out very far, it’s a little affair / in which we won’t lose each other. / For you and me it’s enough.” Though hung on a geographical framework, with a section for each inhabited continent, this generous array of short poems, gathered from dozens of countries, covers a universe of topics, as do the accompanying folk- and fine-art illustrations. The selections are mostly free verse, mostly less than a century old, and although the work of many translators, form a harmonious chorus, whether the poet is singing to the sun-as-warrior (“The fearful night sinks / trembling into the depth / before your lightning eye . . .”) or chasing a wind-blown bagel down the street, mourning a lost child, or joyfully exclaiming, “my stomach / shouts with hunger / when I smell / the delicious / tortillas.” The art, too, forms a seamless tapestry, despite diverse visions and styles, so that a lush Diego Rivera scene shares a spread nicely with a riotously colored Aztec bas-relief, a piece of kente cloth with an ancient bust of Nefertiti. The poetry is all reprinted, and there is seldom information about poets or artists beyond country of origin and dates, but this handsome, readable collection outdoes even Kenneth Koch’s and Kate Farrell’s Talking to the Sun (1985) in demonstrating the unity beneath the diversity of human artistic vision. (credits, index) (Poetry/art. 8+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7922-7071-1
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: National Geographic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2000


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