VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3)
- Lisa A. Hazlett
These three compact poetry anthologies focuses on one theme (beauty, death, and love, respectively), and discusses eight representative works per topic. A fourth title features nature-themed poems. Poetry selections are largely familiar, like “She Walks in Beauty” and “Annabel Lee” from Beauty;Love’s “How Do I Love Thee?” and “Sonnet 130”; or Death’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Death, Be Not Proud.” The anthologies’ features, chapter formats, and writing style are identical, beginning with a genre introduction, followed by a chapter concentrating upon one poem, and including the poet’s drawing or photo and biography. The poem’s form, meaning, and poetic devices are thoroughly discussed line by line, using expositive, yet enjoyable, language and examples that allow for students’ comprehensive understanding of the work. Chapters end with five study questions, and the anthologies’ final pages have five additional study questions and sample answers for each chapter; chapter notes; a glossary; further reading; Internet sources; and an index. While richly informative, the books’ appearances are not particularly attractive. All text is black and white, and while varying font sizes and styles add interest and detail, some graphics might be helpful. Author photos/illustrations vary in quality, and one per chapter may disappoint some. Classroom texts probably already contain these poems, albeit with less information, and only eight works per anthology is a purchasing consideration. As a cross between informational nonfiction and an expository textbook, students will likely use these for reference unless having a particular interest in a poet or theme. (Pure Poetry) Reviewer: Lisa A. Hazlett; Ages 11 to 15.