Fisher (Inside the Heart of a Glass Knight, 2010) presents a wide range of themes—rape, slavery, discrimination, life on the mean streets, love, and friendship—in this bighearted smorgasbord of poetry.
Many of the 72 poems employ simple rhymes (or slant rhymes), such as the book’s first titular poem, which reads, “Love has its ups and downs, and it can make you smile / Or it can make you cry / If the relationship is good, stay / And if it’s not, you got to let ’em fly.” Fisher uses little end-stop punctuation, which drives her poems forward, like in “Slave 2: Cry of a Slave”: “My hands and feet bound in chains / No freedom, no mercy, they call me a slave.” Several of these idealistic pieces trip over clichés and trite language, like “Aim for the Sky,” which urges readers to “Cast your wish upon a shooting star / Then reach for it, and you’ll go far.” Elsewhere, the cadence feels songlike; e.g., in “The Cycle,” which juxtaposes wealth and poverty: “Somewhere someone’s wealthy with no problems getting by / While someone else is on the street begging for a dime.” The concrete, specific imagery is the most memorable. The startling, poignant “A Man of the Unknown” describes a child who—raped and abused—wears sunglasses to school on a cloudy day to hide the bruises. Repetition brings power to “You Don’t Scare Me.” A girl insists that her abuser (who is eventually found dead) does not scare her at all. Her repeated insistence strengthens the voice here while also leading readers to guess that the narrator is terrified, regardless of what she says.
Impassioned; could be used in conjunction with a high school workshop on poetry or social justice.