Everywhere Faces Everywhere

Overview

A master poet explores human diversity in this dazzling collection

James Berry weaves together memories of his Caribbean childhood with observations of young people today in forty-four poems that cover a broad range of subjects as they explore the theme of diversity. In five distinct sections, he evokes the delights and pains of growing up; celebrates the power of nature; examines the conflicts and challenges of a society unwilling to embrace its diversity; plumbs the concept of...

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Overview

A master poet explores human diversity in this dazzling collection

James Berry weaves together memories of his Caribbean childhood with observations of young people today in forty-four poems that cover a broad range of subjects as they explore the theme of diversity. In five distinct sections, he evokes the delights and pains of growing up; celebrates the power of nature; examines the conflicts and challenges of a society unwilling to embrace its diversity; plumbs the concept of change; and uncovers the magic of myths, mysteries, and love. The Horn Book Magazine called James Berry's previous poetry collection, When I Dance, "a kind of epiphany". Here, again, this remarkable poet has created a work that will astonish readers with its beauty, its lyricism, and its clarity.

A collection of poems exploring the diversity found in a childhood in Jamaica and later observations of young people in England.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ed Sullivan
Everywhere Faces Everywhere is a thin and delightful collection of forty-six poems by the Jamaican-born author who now lives in England. Berry draws upon his experiences in both countries to create poems that offer the reader insight into two cultures that have many differences, yet share many similarities. Divided into five sections, Berry's poems cover a wide range of subjects, but all in some sense explore the theme of diversity. In "Bits of Early Days" Berry recalls his childhood in verse that rings of innocence and nostalgia. "Look No Hands" are poems celebrating the natural world, particularly that of Jamaica. In "Trap of a Clash" Berry looks at the privileged and deprived of society, in both England and the Caribbean. Berry examines the conflicts within his "two-culture" self in "Watching a Dancer", and in "Fish and Water Woman" otherworldly subjects of magic and myth are explored. Berry writes with great clarity and sincerity. His poems have a festive, celebratory tone that invites one to read them aloud. He offers provocative observations of life with wit and humor in a variety of poetic forms, from free verse to haiku. This is a rich, varied collection that will appeal to young adults who enjoy poetry. Mention also must be made of the book's wonderful cover art. Beautifully designed and brilliantly colored, the cover captures perfectly the spirit of Berry's poetry. One wishes for more books with cover art and content that are so complementary. Illus. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Sheree Van Vreede
"Escoveitch fish," "asafetida," and "cricket," this collection of poems combines the different flavors of Jamaican and British cultures. Thought-provoking poems enrich ordinary memories and events, but this is not an easy read with simple rhyme schemes. Take the title poem, for example: "Different knowings have worked their ways toward different seasonings." This would be a good book for those young readers with a strong interest and background in poetry. Well-crafted and enlightening, the work is worth the reward.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 UpPoet, novelist, teacher, Berryborn in Jamaica and an migr to England at age 23brings his two worlds together in this evocative, vivacious, and poignant collection. A few of the poems have appeared elsewhere, but here they assume a connected importance to others in a particular section. The selections in "Bits of Early Days" are the reminiscences of a Caribbean childhood and have a nostalgic shine to them. "Look, No Hands" are poems about the natural worldparticularly the sparkling sun of Jamaica. "Trap of a Clash" collects poetry about the haves and have-nots of both the islands and the UK. "Watching a Dancer" is the poet's look at his own "two-culture" self, and "Fish and Water Woman" takes his memories and infuses them with love, myth, and mystery. In spite of the adult sensibilities, the poems will have direct appeal for young people, particularly those experiencing culture shock, discrimination, and, perhaps, a confusing disdain for a childhood spent elsewhere mitigated by happy memories. Skillful economy of expression strengthens the poet's messages and the lilt of his Caribbean voice softens their realities. The book has been designed with a brilliantly colored cover emphasizing the African and island heritage that underlies Berry's view of his two worldsone so very exotic and uninhibited, and the other dark and unforgiving.Marjorie Lewis, formerly at Heathcote School, Scarsdale, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Like "fife-man" in the selection "Haiku Moments: 2," Berry (When I Dance, 1991, etc.) walks with flute music in his head, filling this mosaic-like collection of poetry with childhood characters, nature scenes, and the "beat drums" and "sax groans" of music and street sounds.

In five sections, Berry's strong voice remains the same, but the subject matter differs widely in a multifarious assortment of poems. The personal and the political are explored in poems that address hunger and racism, the "threat and despair" of inner- city conflict and isolation, as well as music, dance, sun-worship, and love. The poems vary in style from haiku and proverb to dialogue and ballad. Each one is peppered with a multiracial cast of characters whose faces—as the title poem suggests—shine "plum-blue to nutmeg-brown, melon-gold to peach pale." The poet dwells with rappers, rockers, graffiti artists, bands of costumed carnival-goers, ghost watchers, and more. Happy Boy Don is a "number one style man" who raps through a day in "Boy Don Rap"; "Nana Krishie the Midwife" has a "tracked black face" that flows with light and knowing; and Josie wants to change her skin color in the poignant "Okay, Brown Girl, Okay." "Love Is Like Vessel" ends the book on a redemptive note, its "fine fine bread" as nourishing as the rest of this lyrical collection.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689809965
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/11/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.35 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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