Age Range: 12 & up
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The ancient Hebrew idea of tikkun olan—remaking the world whole—served as inspiration to poet and editor Rosenberg as she gathered in poems for a sister collection to her Earth-Shattering Poems (not reviewed). Taking another old idea—alphabetical order—she remakes this collection using some felicitous pairings. She opens with the anonymous African-American “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and closes with Yeats’s merry fiddler of Dooney even unto the gates of eternity. Mary Oliver’s “Summer Day” ends with “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” followed by Psalm 23, “The Lord Is My Shepherd”; Maria Mazziotti Gillan’s holding a butterfly in her hand till it “stained gold” is followed by Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra.” Lines that come into our lives as natural as breath: “Jenny kissed me,” “We were very tired, we were very merry,” “I am the master of my fate” are here in their original garb. Structured as it is around images and metaphors of light, this anthology brings refreshment to the spirit. Older readers or those with perhaps a more traditional education will find a lot of old friends here, but familiarity in this case breeds freshness. Biographical sketches of each poet, along with bibliographies that also include non-print sources, are both engaging and useful. (Poetry. 12 +)

Pub Date: April 15th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6223-8
Page count: 141pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000