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MORE SPICE THAN SUGAR by Lillian Morrison


Poems About Feisty Females

edited by Lillian Morrison & illustrated by Ann Boyajian

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-06892-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

“ ‘ . . . i’m gonna beat / out my own rhythm,’ ” proclaims the child in Nikki Giovanni’s “The Drum,” and Morrison (I Scream You Scream, 1997, etc.) expands on that theme with 44 more forthrightly feminist declarations. These include Luci Tapahonso’s memories of her grandmother, who tamed wild horses and hated cooking, Ogden Nash’s Isabel—“ ‘She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up, / then Isabel quietly ate the bear up’ ”—plus poems commemorating the courageous acts or athletic accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Blackwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, Fannie Lou Hamer (“ ‘big as a fist / black as the ground / underfoot’ ”), and more. The wide-ranging contributors include J. Patrick Lewis, Alice Walker, Emily Dickinson, and Eve Merriam, as well as a couple pieces from Morrison herself. In Boyajian’s sketchy, freely brushed ink drawings, girls and women leap, fly, or stand sturdily on two feet, giving visual expression to the joy and self-confidence that radiates from all of these testimonials. Morrison closes with notes on the historical figures here, though no information about the poets—still, this makes uplifting reading, meriting a place alongside Ann Whitford Paul’s All By Herself (1999) and Isabel Joshlin Glaser’s Dreams of Glory: Poems Starring Girls (1995). (Poetry. 8-12)