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I Feel a Little Jumpy around You: A Book of Her Poems and His Poems Presented in Pairs
     

I Feel a Little Jumpy around You: A Book of Her Poems and His Poems Presented in Pairs

by Paul B. Janeczko
 
How do men and women differ and how are we the same? 194 poems by a lively gathering of poets, including Rita Dove, Robert Bly, W.S. Merwin, and others, have been arranged into 97 he/she pairs in this provocative volume of poetry that explores perspectives and gender issues of specific interest to teen readers and educators.

Overview

How do men and women differ and how are we the same? 194 poems by a lively gathering of poets, including Rita Dove, Robert Bly, W.S. Merwin, and others, have been arranged into 97 he/she pairs in this provocative volume of poetry that explores perspectives and gender issues of specific interest to teen readers and educators.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As their subtitle indicates, Nye (This Same Sky) and Janeczko (Poetspeak) have paired each entry of this anthology, matching a poem by a man with one by a woman. The intention, as Nye states in her introduction, is for this presentation to "set off little sizzles" of "energy and interaction" and suggest "how many intriguing contrasts and connections there can be between the multitudes of hes and shes." Although established poets like W.S. Merwin, Grace Paley and Rita Dove are represented, the 190 poems here are chiefly from newer voices, some more accomplished than others. Extensive contributors' notes include the poets' answers to questions about "the role gender has played in their lives and in their work"; this section of the book also includes, as running footnotes, excerpts from self-congratulatory faxes between the editors that provide a dialogue about their selection process. In spite of the book's apparatus, however, the majority of the poems either do not explore gender issues or can be said to do so only at the risk of reducing their significance. Similarly, although some pairings are thought-provoking, more seem forced. Nonetheless, a wealth of poems manage to slip outside the book's heavy political agenda and structural imperatives to provide a clear counterpoint to the confusing He/She duet. Ages 12-up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Nye and Janeczko, distinguished anthologists, have fittingly combined their talents to create this collection of 190 modern poems celebrating women and men's varying points of view. The selections are on a variety of subjects (love, parents, everyday objects); each is paired with one written by a poet of the opposite gender. Gunnar Ekelof's view of marriage in "For Night Comes" ("...when happiness and unhappiness/rest in peace with each other") meets Joan Logghe's "Marriage" ("Marriage, the sweet watered down"); George Bogin's memories in "Nineteen" ("I could have taken her by the hand and walked the whole 60 blocks/to the piers right onto a steamer to France or somewhere,/but I said nothing and after a while got up/and walked out into middle age") is contrasted with Miriam Kessler's thoughts on boys from her past ("All Their Names Were Vincent"). The book concludes with an appendix of musings by the poets on growing up male and female. Indexes of titles and male and female poets are included. Teachers or older adolescents wanting a rich source for thought and discussion need look no further.-Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
Hazel Rochman
An anthology needs a unifying theme, and this collection focuses on the experience of gender--how men and women see things differently and the same. Two fine YA anthologists have collaborated in gathering nearly 200 rich, subtle poems about "the multitudes of hes and shes" among children, parents, siblings, friends, lovers, spouses, outsiders. The politics is great fun as a framework. Janeczko and Nye each contribute a lively introduction in which they open up issues of gender and of anthology making. The brief excerpts from their faxes to each other are argumentative, irritable, profound, and teasing ("Is this a boy thing?" Nye asks him). Notes at the back by the contributing poets are earnest, comic, sometimes lyrical; one famous poet is furious at being asked to think about gender in relation to his poetry. The pairing arrangement seems a bit tight: always a poem by a man and a poem by a woman set off together. Instead of enjoying each poem for itself, you feel pushed to read the companion piece and work out why they're together. (Is my problem a "girl" thing?) Best of all, of course, are the individual poems; you dip into this great collection anywhere and discover something astonishing to read, one poem at a time.
Kirkus Reviews
A remarkable anthology, though not for its gender gimmick—his and her poems collected in tandem by his and her anthologists with separate introductions and even separate indexes to male and female poets. Often the pairings seem subjective even while the poems themselves shine with universality; and the sheer variety—only a fraction by poets who are even relatively familiar—is extraordinary. There are powerful and fascinating poems about crushes, kisses (his, visceral; hers, romantic), roots, guilt, memory and the influence of the past ("the heart remembers home and will make you walk water to find it"), and grief. There are stunning selections about daughters and mothers ("something is moving/in the water./she is the hook./i am the line"); fathers; brothers and sisters; boys "having moved on naturally from zapping/ants with a magnifying glass, to disfiguring/toy soldiers with a woodburning kit" and girls "bearing supper,/our heads on fire." With moments of fierce humor ("Emily Dickinson's To-Do List") and true communion ("I will/ try to wait for you,/on your side of things"), this is a wonder, whatever it has to say (or doesn't) about men and women.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689805189
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.23(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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