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ROOTS & FLOWERS by Liz Rosenberg


Poets and Poems on Family

edited by Liz Rosenberg

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6433-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

Rosenberg again brings contemporary “adult” poems to a younger audience, in an appealing and intriguing format. A “companion” to The Invisible Ladder (1996), this also introduces the reader to the poets through their commentaries, which precede each selection. A b&w photo of each poet with her or his family accompanies the commentaries, making vividly clear that there are many different kinds of people alive today who happen to be poets. Those that Rosenberg has gathered (40 in all) are all American, of various cultures and experiences. The poems are narrative and lyric in style, bearing on the infinitely diverse relationships in families. Though many of the poems are from a parent’s perspective, they are accessible to younger readers, too. Stephen Dobyns writes, of his son, “Far from my house he will open his presents— / a book, a Swiss Army knife, some music. Where / is his manual of instructions? Where is his map / showing the dark places and how to escape them?” Other poets touch on feelings that many kids will relate to instantly: “When I see my father lying in bed, reading / I want to pass by and say, / be my happy father.” Robert Bly, Naomi Shihab Nye, Stanley Kunitz, Gary Soto, Linda Pastan, Marie Howe, and Donald Hall are among the well-known poets here, and they are in the excellent company of others that Rosenberg has brought together in this engaging collection. (biographical notes, suggested reading and listening, permissions, index of first lines) (Poetry. 12+)