THE BODY ECLECTIC by Patrice Vecchione

THE BODY ECLECTIC

An Anthology of Poems
Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An anthology usually stands or falls on the strength of its theme and the perspicacity of its editor’s choices: this one mostly stands. Vecchione has taken the body in all of its myriad aspects, and has chosen poetry as old as Anonymous (“Dem Bones”) and as new as Gary Soto (“Black Hair”). The collection begins, as it must, with Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric,” and continues through erotic, esoteric, direct, and derisive: body parts, and body image. Donald Hall’s “Eating the Pig” is a marvelous and tender evocation of hunger, satiety, and respect for eating another living creature; Marie Howe’s “The Kiss” touches the axis of eroticism and loss with swooning heart’s ease. Some pieces of prose that read lyrically are included: a brief passage from Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face almost stops the heart in its honesty. Nail-biting (Shel Silverstein), elbows (Minnie Bruce Pratt), and tattoos (Mark Doty) all take the stage, then bowing out to let Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty” and Shakespeare on Olivia’s face from Twelfth Night enter. Alice Walker and Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros and Sir Philip Sidney, all celebrate bodies and what we can do with them. The hook will lure teens in; the poetry will make them stay. (biographical notes with bibliography) (Poetry. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6935-6
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002




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