At once impassioned and practical poetic advice.

MY SHOUTING, SHATTERED, WHISPERING VOICE

A GUIDE TO WRITING POETRY AND SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH

A middle- to high school–grades primer on finding one’s poetic voice.

Seasoned poet and anthologist Vecchione here crafts a guide for would-be poets. Pitched toward teens inclined to pursue writing, Vecchione’s book makes the argument for poetry from a romantic, personal perspective, describing how she came to be a writer as a way of coping with emotional turmoil at home and feelings of isolation at school. The empirical advice is divided into five sections, each consisting of easily digested short chapters covering both the why and how of creating verse. Excerpts from various poets demonstrate a range of poetic styles. The backmatter includes a brief bibliography and online platforms for listening to poetry and submitting work for publication. The author incorporates numerous inspirational quotations about writing from famous writers throughout, including Ursula K. LeGuin and Toni Morrison. Perhaps the work’s strongest section is the one offering 25 provocative, creative prompts, such as being inspired by Pablo Neruda’s question poems and writing unanswerable questions of one’s own or writing a love poem without using the word “love.” Vecchione also offers helpful pointers for editing one’s work and knowing when to quash one’s inner critic. While this volume contains much sound advice, it is more likely to be used by individual teen writers who wish to cultivate their poetry skills than to become a classroom staple.

At once impassioned and practical poetic advice. (resources, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60980-985-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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