Poetry Speaks Who I Am is filled with more than 100 remarkable poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Dive in—find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, th...
Poetry Speaks Who I Am is filled with more than 100 remarkable poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Dive in—find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, the one that makes you laugh, the one that knocks the wind out of you, and become a part of Poetry Speaks Who I Am by adding your own inside the book.
Poetry can be life altering. It can be gritty and difficult. It can be hilarious or heart-breaking. And it’s meant to be experienced, so we’ve included a CD on which you’ll hear 44 poems, 39 of which are original recordings—you’ll only find them here. You’ll hear poets both classic and contemporary, well-known and refreshingly new, including:
--Dana Gioia expresses the hunger of a “Vampire’s Serenade”
--Elizabeth Alexander waits for that second kiss in “Zodiac”
--Langston Hughes flings his arms wide in “Dream Variations”
--Marilyn Nelson reads to her class in “How I Discovered Poetry”
--Paul Muldoon’s poem “Sideman,” brought loudly to life by the band Rackett
--And 39 more poems that are immediate and vibrant
From Lucille Clifton’s “Here Yet Be Dragons” to Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” to “Tia Chucha,” by Luis J. Rodriguez, Poetry Speaks Who I Am is a collection that is dynamic, accessible, challenging, classic, edgy, and ultimately not quite perfect. Just like you. If you’re lucky, it’ll serve as a gateway to a lifetime lived with poetry. At the very least, it'll be a good time. Dive in, and happy hunting.
About the AuthorElise Paschen is the editor of Poetry Speaks to Children and co-editor of Poetry Speaks, both New York Times bestsellers. She is the author of several acclaimed poetry collections of her own, including Bestiary and Infidelities, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Former Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America, she is the co-founder of Poetry in Motion, a nationwide program that places poetry in subways and buses, and co-editor of Poetry in Motion and Poetry in Motion from Coast to Coast. Series Editor Dominique Raccah is founder, president, and publisher of Sourcebooks, a leading independent publisher outside of Chicago. Today Sourcebooks is the world’s leading publisher of poetry in book-and-audio form, and also publishes nonfiction and fiction. Raccah was the initial visionary of the books Poetry Speaks, Poetry Speaks to Children and Hip Hop Speaks to Children, seeing them as interactive, engaging ways to experience spoken and written poetry. Advisory Editor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. Most recently, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, also published as a book. She has published five books of poems, including The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, and American Sublime, which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year.” Advisory Editor Brad Leithauser is the author of five novels, a novel in verse, five volumes of poetry, a collection of light verse, and a book of essays. His poetry collections include Curves and Angles, The Odd Last Thing She Did, The Mail from Anywhere, Cats of the Temple, and Hundreds of Fireflies. Among his many awards and honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Grant, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Advisory Editor Joy Harjo’s seven books of poetry include She Had Some Horses, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, and How We Became Human. Her poetry has garnered many awards including a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.
Table of Contents
A Note from the Publisher xi
Eternity Jason Shinder 1
Perhaps the World Ends Here Joy Harjo 2
Still I Rise Maya Angelou 4
Cinderella’s Diary Ron Koertge 6
Vampire’s Serenade Dana Gioia 7
Alone Edgar Allan Poe 8
Alone Siegfried Sassoon 9
Caroline Allison Joseph 10
“What are friends for…˝ Rosellen Brown 12
I Loved My Friend Langston Hughes 13
In the Fifth-Grade Locker Room Rebecca Lauren 14
Bra Shopping Parneshia Jones 16
Blood Charm Annie Finch 18
Pause Nikki Grimes 19
The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee N Scott Momaday 20
Indian Education Sherman Alexie 21
One Art Elizabeth Bishop 22
Here Arthur Sze 23
Haiku Sonia Sanchez 24
Good Girl Molly Peacock 25
Bad Boats Laura Jensen 26
No Images Waring Cuney 27
won’t you celebrate with me Lucille Clifton 28
What I’m telling you Elizabeth Alexander 29
How I Learned to Sweep Julia Alvarez 30
Sonnet 130 William Shakespeare 32
Litany Billy Collins 33
A Teenage Couple Brad Leithauser 35
Free Period David Yezzi 36
Zodiac Elizabeth Alexander 38
The Skokie Theatre Edward Hirsch 39
Valentine Wendy Cope 41
An Angry Valentine Myra Cohn Livingston 42
What Great Grief Has Made the Empress Mute June Jordan 43
Mad Girl’s Love Song Sylvia Plath 45
How We Heard the Name Alan Dugan 46
The Gladiator Kevin Prufer 47
Worth Marilyn Nelson 48
I Am A Black Gwendolyn Brooks 49
Lost Sister Cathy Song 51
Flash Cards Rita Dove 54
Arithmetic Carl Sandburg 55
Dream Variations Langston Hughes 56
Dreams Langston Hughes 57
Blackberry-picking Seamus Heaney 58
Manners Elizabeth Bishop 59
Mascara Elizabeth Spires 61
from For a Girl Becoming Joy Harjo 62
Every Day It Is Always There Rainy Ortiz 64
Dear Mama (4) Wanda Coleman 65
A Boy in a Bed in the Dark Brad Sachs 67
The Talk Sharon Olds 68
A Small Poem Calvin Forbes 69
Fears of the Eighth Grade Toi Derricotte 70
When I have fears that I may cease to be John Keats 71
Death of a Snowman Vernon Scannell 72
Oatmeal Galway Kinnell 73
Eating Poetry Mark Strand 75
The Bagel David Ignatow 76
Hope Is the Thing with Feathers Emily Dickinson77
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking Emily Dickinson 78
The Duke’s castle John Fuller 79
Ozymandias Percy Bysshe Shelley 80
The Sacred Stephen Dunn 81
The Road Not Taken Robert Frost 82
Prowess Samuel Menashe 83
What We Might Be, What We Are X J Kennedy 84
Sideman Paul Muldoon 85
XVIII Oh, when I was in love with you A E Housman 87
Sometimes with One I Love Walt Whitman 88
In the Desert Stephen Crane 89
Annabel Lee Edgar Allan Poe 90
The Summer of Black Widows Sherman Alexie 92
Permanently Kenneth Koch 94
A Dog on His Master Billy Collins 95
Mowing Midge Goldberg 96
Seal William Jay Smith 97
Seahorses Brad Leithauser 98
So Far Naomi Shihab Nye 101
The Germ Ogden Nash 102
Baseball Bill Zavatsky 103
Poetry Slalom Mary Jo Salter 106
How I Discovered Poetry Marilyn Nelson 107
Used Book Shop X J Kennedy 108
The Survivor Marilyn Chin 110
New Clothes Kay Ryan 111
Mediation Kim Stafford 112
A Fable Louise Glück 113
Houses Nancy Willard 114
Snowmen Agha Shahid Ali 115
The Floral Apron Marilyn Chin 116
Abuelito Who Sandra Cisneros 117
Legacies Nikki Giovanni 118
Instead of Her Own Molly Peacock 119
Tia Chucha Luis J Rodriguez 120
The Adversary Phyllis McGinley 122
What Your Mother Tells You Now Mitsuye Yamada 123
33 Philip Schultz 124
49 Philip Schultz 125
What Are Heavy? Christina Rossetti 126
The Wind Sara Teasdale 127
Acquainted with the Night Robert Frost 128
When You Are Old W B Yeats 129
“Nobody can counsel and help you” Rainer Maria Rilke 130
“Live a while in these books” Rainer Maria Rilke 131
Here Yet Be Dragons Lucille Clifton 132
Sedna Kimiko Hahn 133
The Writer Richard Wilbur 135
About the contributors 149
From the Introduction:
This is not a poetry anthology for adults, for children, for classroom study, or for required memorization and recitation. It’s made just for you....
From the Introduction:
This is not a poetry anthology for adults, for children, for classroom study, or for required memorization and recitation. It’s made just for you.
When I was younger, I wish I had possessed an anthology like this one—a compilation that brings poetry to life through words and recordings. In grammar school, I memorized the poems I discovered in a favorite poetry anthology my parents had given me. In high school, after my British Literature teacher introduced me to the work of William Butler Yeats, I began to understand how to write a poem. But in middle school there were no poetry anthologies compiled just for students and poetry was not taught in class. So I gravitated toward poets of the past and read William Shakespeare’s love sonnets, trying to imitate them. I had no idea that poets were alive and writing. This anthology attempts to fill that void by offering poems about subjects that might express what’s on your mind.
Youth inspires poets. So when we asked poets to send poems either that were important to them at your age or that they’d written about being your age, we received hundreds of submissions. Many writers try to capture those moments you may be thinking about now as you step into a new world.
We strived to create an anthology where you can discover poems about the changes taking place in your life. We offer first kiss poems like “Zodiac” or “The Skokie Theatre.” If you’ve ever stood in the outfield, waiting to catch a fly ball, check out “Baseball.” There are some Bar Mitzvah poems called “33” and “49.” Poems about changing bodies such as “Bra Shopping.” Poems about the times you think you hate your mother as in “The Adversary” and poems about loving her such as “Dear Mama (4).” Poems about loneliness like Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night.” We even have a “Vampire Serenade.” There are poems about navigating the turbulence of friendship like “Caroline” or the riptides of your parents’ marriage as in “Mediation.” We have paired classic poems with contemporary poems, from John Keats to Toi Derricotte, so you can read how poets throughout the ages have mulled over the same subjects.
Some poems will help you catch your breath, others will let you slowly exhale. Many of the poets traveled to studios to record their poems for Poetry Speaks Who I Am. When you listen to the CD, you will hear the immediacy of their words and the nuance of expression, and you will be able to hear and perhaps understand the poem from the poet’s perspective.
In seventh grade, my friends and I would get together at each other’s houses, listening for long afternoons to our favorite records. Older siblings introduced us to Carly Simon, James Taylor, Carole King, and we would sit and talk and sometimes just sit and listen to the songs, memorizing each one, playing them over and over in our minds. Let’s hope that these poem recordings touch that same nerve for you and that they hold the same power that music did. Throughout my life, whenever I read a book I often scribble down a draft of a poem in the back pages. In Poetry Speaks Who I Am, you will find pages at the end where you can write down your own thoughts. Maybe some of the poems in this anthology will stir you to write some poems of your own.
We hope you will find inspiring company with these poems and with these poets. As the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke writes: “Live a while in these books…” So live a while with these poems.
Poetry isnt often popular among teens, but perhaps its because they havent heard the words that speak directly to their experiences and feelings.
Editor Elise Paschen collected more than 100 poems, ranging from “antiquated” writers like Shakespeare, to the some of the freshest writers in verse, like Billy Collins. In fact, pages 32 and 33 act as a comparison of past and present expressions of relationship, with Shakespeares “Sonnet 130” (“My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips red ...”) and Collins “Litany” (“You are the dew on the morning grass and the burning wheel of the sun”). Other pairings also portray the difference between classic and contemporary poems, showing readers how poets have wrestled with, and presented, similar subjects throughout the ages.
Poets include Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Ogden Nash, Syvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, W.B. Yeats, Joy Harjo, Maya Angelou, N. Scott Momaday, Sandra Cisneros and more.
The poetry by renowned authors runs the gamut of emotion and topics, from first kisses and bra shopping to loneliness, love and hatred. And its no wonder the poems hit home: Paschen has a keen eye she also edited “Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat,” a New York Times bestseller.
As publisher Dominique Raccah points out in her introduction, most collections of poetry target either children or adults; there has been nothing in-between until now.
However, the raw exposition of the poems can easily rouse adults interest, bringing them back to sensual emotion, and humor.
The book is meant to pique interest (it even contains fun pages to fill with inspiration of ones own) rather than demand kids to delve into complex themes and meanings or memorize lines.
And, perhaps the best part of the book involves the accompanying 63-minute CD, which contains 47 of the poems, immersing listeners in the rhythm and power of the authors spoken voices.
“These clear and powerful readings add a welcome dimension and will no doubt enhance readers’ enjoyment of the collection. The design of the volume, with its funky typefaces and brightly colored cover, will also appeal to young teens. The final pages provide space for readers to add their own poemsa good idea, because after paging through this eclectic and powerful anthology many will indeed be inspired to take up the pen.”
“Teen readers will find much to enjoy in "Poetry Speaks: Who I am"(Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, $19.99). Editor Elise Paschen asked poets to send poems either that were important to them as teenagers, or poems they had written themselves about being teenagers. The result is a highly eclectic collection of 100 poems about everything from valentines to being black to mowing the lawn.”
“Who has more angst than a teenager? (I mean, other than the parent of a teenager!) Poetry is the perfect expression for angst, for questioning, for emotional expression so I recommend this anthology as a great gift for teens. Poetry Speaks Who I Am is filled with more than 100 poems and even includes space for the owner to add his or her own inside the book. Its meant to be experienced, so there’s a CD to hear poets reading their own work, which makes it much more intimate and accessible.”
“All in all, I would say this is best book on the market for finding poems that will speak to the middle school mindset. Several budding poets were born from my readings of the text and many more found that poetry could truly speak to them. Teachers need look no further for good, relevant poems for their classrooms, and parents who love poetry could share a special moment over some of the same poets that made them love poetry with their own children. Poetry Speaks: Who I Am, edited by Elise Paschen, captures the beauty of poetry for students who historically hate it. I know of no better compliment to pay it than to say that it turned young minds of stone into minds receptive to the complexities and nuance of poetry and poetic language. Enough said.”
“The power of spoken poetry is at the heart of Poetry Speaks. Poetry is a vocal art, an art meant to be read aloud. Listening to a poem read aloud can be a transforming experience. Poetry Speaks not only introduces the finest work from some of the greatest poets who ever lived, it reintroduces the oral tradition of poetry, of poetry performed.”
“Poetry Speaks Who I Am has many poems that will apply to every feeling and thought, put words to what we can’t find words for, and prove that yes, there are other people out there who feel like you do now, you’re not the only one. You’re not alone. These poets talk about everything from the awkwardness of changing and showering in the fifth grade locker room to embarrassing bra shopping with mom, to a first kiss. There’s poems about segregation and ethnicity, homework and math class, sports, clothes, and even the emotions brought forth from reading poetry itself.”
“If you have kids, you should look into this series, and this book. It will teach your kids about poetry; about rhythm, rhyme, meter, and all of that, but also about emotion and expression. It will teach them about rules, and when it’s OK to break them. And it will teach them that there is a huge diversity of poetry, and not all of it is happy. They’ll learn that some of the best poetry is born out of sorry, or difficulty, and they may learn that they like writing the stuff themselves.”
“Read a book of poetry. I recommend Poetry Speaks Who I Am edited by Elise Paschen. This book was created specifically for young adults and contains almost 100 accessible poems.”
“Poet Elise Paschen is turning her attention to yet another most universal of human experiences: awkward adolescence…[Paschen] can turn this subject into something that we can laugh about now."
“Poetry Speaks Who I Am is the perfect book to introduce tweens & teens to Poetry… [Poetry Speaks Who I Am] also features blank pages in the back, where teens can write their own poetry. The books design also speaks to younger readers with the pages created to look like they belong in a teenagers notebook, with scribbles and doodles around the edges…This adds yet another dimension to the experience of poetry, which is sometimes considered a performance art more than anything else.”
“There are poems about what it is to be African American, Native American and Asian American. Poems about first kisses, valentines, mathematics, and death. There are a total of 108 poems in the book, in fact, and of those 108 poems, forty-four have been recorded on the CD that accompanies the book.”
“Elise Paschen: poetry for teens caters to the rebel in each of us… So what if that poetry happens to be written by some fancy-sounding name such as Percy Shelley or Paul Muldoon? So much the better.”
“A refreshing lack of literary hierarchy that enables disparate works to build and reflect upon one another… [Poetry Speaks: Who I am] is a sound and rewarding introduction to the joys of poetry.”
“This volume of verse is aimed at teenagers and is, not surprisingly, full of strong emotion... Its a standout collection, packaged with a CD of the poems read aloud, many by the poets themselves."
“Poetry Speaks Who I Am is a unique take on helping to introduce readers to modern as well as classical poetry. The authors of this novel definitely had teens in mind when putting this collection together. The pages all have a grungy look to them, and is filled with cute little doodles which looks like something I would have done to my writing notebook. In addition, the themes of the poems are full range. You have poems that deal with love... social issues... you name it and it is probably in there.”
“An added bonus to Poetry Speaks Who I Am is that is comes with a CD of 47 poems being read by their authors or others. There’s something hypnotic about listening to poems being read, especially by the author, who knows where she intended emphasis and can add tone.”
“Poetry Speaks Who I Am is a collection that is dynamic, accessible, challenging, classic, edgy, and ultimately not quite perfect. Just like you. If youre lucky, itll serve as a gateway to a lifetime lived with poetry. At the very least, itll be a good time.”
“The editors of Poetry Speaks Who I Am know that teens are dealing with much more than just young lust. There are major issues covered in these pages – from love to death to parents to race and beyond. This poetry, literally, speaks to who you are – whether you’re 14 or 41. I guarantee, even if you don’t like poetry, you’ll find at least one poem in this book that resonates with what you’re experiencing right now in life.”
“These poems focus on a topic that weighs heavy on the minds of young readers: personal identity. The poems come at this broad theme from many angles, sometimes taking it on very directly as in Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “I Am Black,” sometimes in a more roundabout way. “
“With over 100 selections, there is a wide range of poems offered. This is a great anthology, and a good resource for finding meaningful poems for your student.”
“I loved that some of the classics I read in school were included in this book, but I also thought it was terrific how many "new" poets were featured. In fact, some of my favorite poems were from poets whom I had never heard of. Like the other books, its difficult to pick out one or two poems that spoke to me because there were so many powerful ones; but I think I most enjoyed those poems that were written about the insecurities that young girls face at this time of their life.”
“I loved how this collection was organized. Its perfect for dipping into, and swimming a bit. While the poems are thoughtful and encourage reflection, the collection does not seem heavy-handed. "Vampires Serenade" by Dana Gioia is on one page, followed by "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe on the next. Youll find poems from a boys perspective, poems that speak to girls, and poems that speak to all of us. Many poems are short, many tell stories from the poets childhood, some are more abstract.”
“Elise Paschen’s Poetry Speaks Who I Am combines written verse with audio recitation of poetry by the poets themselves on CDs spark young readers’ love of poetry and verse. Readers between the ages of 11 and 14 will find poems in this volume that speak to their struggles with love, family, growing into adulthood, and making friends.”
“Humorous, biting, tender, angry, confusedthe range of moods and voices reflect those of young people themselves as they make and lose friends, fall in love, worry about school, hug (and hurt) parents and try to figure out their place in the world.”
“Poetry Speaks Who I Am is aimed at tweens and teens. I would say that high school and up is probably most appropriate, because there are some poems about teen angst and kissing (plus). But there are some poems that you could definitely share with your tween. I couldnt resist telling Amanda to read the funny-to-me-but-maybe-not-to-her "Bra Shopping" by Parneshia Jones.”
“With compilations like these, I tend to grab onto them. In this case, the editors did an amazing job of compiling old and new work into a compendium of poignant and touching poetry for teenagers (and really, anyone thats still a teenager on the inside).”
“A sound and rewarding introduction to the joys of poetry.”
“I highly recommend Poetry Speaks Who I Am for those young adults in your life that may be trying to find their way, or the adults in your life that enjoy poetry. There are some poems included that are definitely considered classics, so this is a must read for literature lovers. “
“The thing that is so amazing about this book is the editing, it doesnt feel as though poems were taken and just thrown into a book for those to read. It feels as if careful thought was put into each poem and where to place it in the book. There are poems by Robert Frost, Edger Allan Poe, and Emily Dickinson so it gives an introduction to poets that are some of poetrys greatest authors.”
“This is the kind of project that fills our hearts with happiness… Poetry Speaks Who I Am is the ideal collection to prove to young readers that while poems like Edgar Allan Poes "Annabel Lee" are called classics for good reason, modern poetrylike Parneshia Joness outstanding "Bra Shopping"can be funny, evocative, and powerful.”
“Teen readers will find much to enjoy in "Poetry Speaks: Who I am…a highly eclectic collection of 100 poems about everything from valentines to being black to mowing the lawn.”
Length: 8.5 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 15.00 oz
Page Count: 176 pages