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By Definition: Poems of Feelings

By Definition: Poems of Feelings

by Sara Holbrook, Scott Mattern (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Holbrook's (Wham! It's a Poetry Jam: Discovering Performance Poetry) collection of 40 poems communicates moments of insight and surprise, but many poems begin with a perceptive detail and then carry it to an abstraction that undercuts the impact of the mood or message. The strongest poems adopt various perspectives to examine friendship. The poet riffs on the language of finance for one such verse ("Investments"): "Securities/ I've borrowed/ from the pockets/ of your mind/ and tucked them/ secret places/ to be returned/ in kind." Her look at a child's disenchantment with a friend in "Mistrust" is just as effective: "What truth wraps up,/ mistrust unties./ You can't hold/ friends/ in a/ pack/ of lies." However, "Amused" begins in clever wordplay ("A muse./ The accidental thought,/ the sticky ruse/ my daydreams brought") then picks up mixed metaphors ("Till someone yells/ and hurry pushes/ my dawdle to respond,/ but not for long"), eventually devolving into a berating for procrastination ("Again./ Again./ I'm late"). Cartoonish line drawings contribute little to the verses' meaning. The poems that tap into the most pressing experiences of childhood, many having to do with connection to others (e.g., in "Pout": "No use/ acting nice to me/ when I'm stuck/ in a pout./ I can't let your/ niceness in/ until my mad/ wear/ out") will be most resonant with readers. Ages 9-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature
As usual, Holbrook packs quite a bit into a slim volume of poetry. In this one, she really has a mission�to keep us aware of the power of words and life's emotions. Teens and others entering a time of great change in their lives will find poems that resonate. Holbrook seems to be able to enter the minds of young adult readers. She brings to the forefront those issues and thoughts that sometimes get buried or just remain unarticulated. The Title choices are terrific � ranging from "Procrastinator," "Subtle," "Reality," and "Uplift." I particularly liked the one entitled "Kind" because it is hard sometimes to know "Is it kind to be kind, / or am I a chump?" Although I am nowhere near being a teen, this is an issue that I still wrestle with. "Mistrust" is short and to the point: "What truth wraps up, / mistrust unties. / You can't hold / friend / in a/pack / of lies. While the topics are serious, the black-and-white illustrations not only bring home the point but also add a bit of humor and a light touch to the seriousness. This is a great gift item for kids going into upper elementary and beyond. 2003, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press,
— Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A wide range of emotions that preadolescents and young teens must cope with, such as anger, mistrust, disappointment, jealousy, honesty, and loneliness, are addressed in these 40 brief poems. About half can be found in collections previously published by Wordsong. For the most part, the selections deal lightly, often glibly, with these subjects. Sketchy, black-and-white cartoonlike illustrations match the upbeat tone and keep the material from becoming too weighty. Additional.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"TV came / out of radio, / free verse / came out of rhyme. / I am / coming out of middle school, / changing all the time." In 40 short poems, half new, half gathered from previous collections, Holbrook captures the changeable emotional skies of early adolescence with clear-eyed observations on friendship�s responsibilities, on honesty, doubt, anger, grief, and similar topics. The poet not only steers clear of ambiguities, but displays such a consistent "ear" for vocal impact that her poems will make rousing, crowd-pleasing read-alouds. Newcomer Mattern�s unobtrusive line drawings reflect each poem�s topic and tone expertly. A fine choice for poetry breaks and a natural complement to the poet�s Wham! It�s a Poetry Jam (2002). (Poetry. 11-13)

Product Details

Boyds Mills Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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