Fresh angles aplenty for poetic encounters.



Visual adaptations of 24 short poems mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Graphic artist Peters (Stairs Appear in a Hole Outside of Town, 2014, etc.) has thematically arranged the content in quartets so that, for instance, Emily Dickinson’s “Hope Is a Thing With Feathers” and Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” (with two others) appear under “Seeing Yourself,” and Edgar Allen Poe’s wonderfully morbid “Annabel Lee” joins three others about “Seeing Death.” Siegfried Sassoon’s “Before the Battle” is set in the World War I trenches, but Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” is just one of several in which different eras flicker past (in this case, a masked gunman brandishes an Islamic State group flag in one late panel), and some, such as “Caged Bird” and Langston Hughes’ “Juke Box Love Song,” are montages or abstractions. The selections likewise encompass a range of moods and media, from a twinkly black-and-white manga version of W.B. Yeats’ “When You Are Old” to poignant watercolor scenes illustrating Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays.” The text is easy to follow, even when incorporated into the art, and the poems are reprinted at the end of each piece. The only serious misstep is the inclusion of Carl Sandburg’s “Buffalo Dusk,” with its hopelessly simplistic line, “Those who saw the buffaloes are gone”—compounded by images of ghostly Native Americans on horseback by a modern highway.

Fresh angles aplenty for poetic encounters. (preface, poetry credits) (Graphic poetry collection. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-87486-318-5

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Plough

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Beautiful verse but insufficient depth.



Multiaward-winning author Engle presents the childhood and youth of famed Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío.

Engle tirelessly brings forth yet another influential Latin American whose life is little known to children in the United States. Based on Darío’s autobiography, the free-verse novel is told in the voice of the poet as imagined by Engle. Readers learn of the mother who abandoned him at a young age under a palm tree; of the great-uncle who gave him a home; and of learning “the essential skill of storytelling” from this same great-uncle, “who tells tall tales / in a booming, larger-than-life / story voice.” Darío started writing poetry as a child and was soon known as “el niño poeta” (the poet boy). Impulsive and smart, Darío’s youth was both marked by events out of his control and controlled by his emotions. At the age of 19 he left Nicaragua for Chile, and—aside from one last poem briefly summarizing the rest of his life—it is here the novel ends. Unfortunately, the book focuses more on the emotional life that carried him forward than on the events surrounding him, leaving readers with the need to go elsewhere for a more complete picture.

Beautiful verse but insufficient depth. (author’s note, references) (Historical verse fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2493-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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