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HEART TO HEART

NEW POEMS INSPIRED BY TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICAN ART

This unusual poetry anthology is a compilation of 43 contemporary poets’ responses to self-selected images, ranging from photographs to sculpture. The poets may tell a story inspired by the art, assume the voice of the subject, describe the piece, or explore some technical aspect of the work. Poems are written in traditional forms, free verse, or patterns. Greenberg (Frank O. Gehry: Outside In, 2000, etc.) contributes a poem in the shape of a diamond to accompany Chuck Close’s self-portrait in diamond shapes. Jacob Lawrence’s “Barber Shop,” a colorful, jazzy gouache on paper, inspires Peter F. Neumeyer to match the feelings engendered in the painting with words that describe the barbershop as a “shrewd skeptic joshing where the brothers meet.” William Jay Smith reacts to Elie Nadelman’s wooden sculpture “Woman at the Piano” with a story beginning, “When the tall thin lady started to play the notes flew up and out and away.” Artists represented include Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Grooms, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Hopper, Faith Ringgold, Mark Rothko, and Roy Liechtenstein. Poets include Deborah Chandra, Kristine O’Connell George, Angela Johnson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and X.J. Kennedy. The color reproduction of the works from museum slides is excellent, and the varied arrangements of text and art on the page lends interest. Some of the works are accessible to young children; others are more sophisticated. An index and biographical notes on the poets and artists are useful additions. A beautiful volume that brings words and pictures together in wonderful tributes from artist to artist. (Nonfiction. All ages)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8109-4386-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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