I Just Hope It's Lethal


The teenage years are a time filled with sadness, madness, joy, and all the messy stuff in between. Sometimes it feels that every day brings a new struggle, a new concern, a new reason to stay in bed with the shades drawn. But between moments of despair and confusion often come times of great clarity and insight, when you might think, like the poet Rumi, “Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!” It is moments like these that have inspired the touching, honest, and gripping poems found in I Just Hope It’s Lethal: ...

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The teenage years are a time filled with sadness, madness, joy, and all the messy stuff in between. Sometimes it feels that every day brings a new struggle, a new concern, a new reason to stay in bed with the shades drawn. But between moments of despair and confusion often come times of great clarity and insight, when you might think, like the poet Rumi, “Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!” It is moments like these that have inspired the touching, honest, and gripping poems found in I Just Hope It’s Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy. After all, what’s normal anyway?

This collection includes poems by Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, T. S. Eliot, Edgar Allen Poe, W. B. Yeats, Dorothy Parker, Jane Kenyon, and many more, including teenage writers and up-and-coming poets.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Includes poems of great intensity . . . alongside verses with humor-tinged darkness."—Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly

"The wide range of styles, from poets both famous and lesser known, from various time periods, also adds interest. . . . Good biographical notes and indices of authors, titles, and first lines conclude the volume."—Horn Book Horn Book

"[A] deeply affecting, and sophisticated collection, which will resonate with young people in all states of mental equilibrium."—Booklist Booklist, ALA

"Powerfully written and easy to understand. . . . This efficiently organized, concise, and interesting collection is an excellent choice for libraries serving teens."—School Library Journal School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Organized into sections such as "Lopsided Love" and "Rapid Tumble," I Just Hope It's Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness, & Joy, ed. by Liz Rosenberg and Deena November, includes poems of great intensity such as Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus," about her attempted suicides, alongside verses with humor-tinged darkness such as T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." More contemporary poets include Margaret Atwood, Naomi Shihab Nye and editors Rosenberg and November. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Many a teen finds solace in poetry. As the teenage years are an emotional rollercoaster, the raw emotion present in some poetry can be very comforting. For this reason, Liz Rosenberg and Deena November decided to collect some of the most emotional poems ever written into one volume. Each editor writes her own introduction and describes how she selected the poems. The collection is divided into sections based on emotion. The poems are written by a very wide range of authors, from the very famous (William Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, and Edgar Allen Poe, among others) to more modern authors (even some teenage poets). By placing young poets in such illustrious company, Rosenberg and November encourage creativity in their readers and introduce teenagers to a wide range of poems. There are brief but informative biographies of each poet at the end of the collection. Copies of I Just Hope It's Lethal will undoubtedly be carried in many a backpack and read to tatters. 2005, Graphia, Ages 12 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
This unique collection of poetry will attract aspiring poets, practicing poets, and lovers of poetry. Readers, including teens who have experienced bouts of depression or other mental illness, will find solace in the fact that fellow sufferers, including poets such as John Berryman, William Blake, Jane Kenyon, Sylvia Plath, and Dorothy Parker, managed to write their ways out of depression or to eventually use the experience of it creatively. The anthology is divided into five sections titled Sadness Without Reason: Moods; Wild World; Lopsided Love; Rapid Tumble; and Wish You Were Here: The Return. Rosenberg collaborates with her former Binghamton University student and fellow poet November to come up with a collection of work inspired by sadness, madness, and joy. Many of the poems, however, are a reflection of the insanity in the world and the poet's interpretation of war, injustice, and cruelty. Others represent the sadness one feels enduring difficult periods or universal experiences of love, suffering, and loss. Brief biographies of each poet give readers insight into the lives of these poets who come from different cultures and eras, and who like Rosenberg and November, are of different generations. This interesting and rich collection of poetry will have special significance for teen readers. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2005, Houghton Mifflin, 176p.; Index. Biographies., Trade pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Lois Parker-Hennion
Brought to life by college professor Liz Rosenberg and her student, Deena November, this anthology contains a wide variety of poems that in one way or another deal with the themes of depression and madness. Its purpose, as Rosenberg states in her introduction to the book, is to serve as a "guide for those who find themselves lost in a dark wilderness," for "poetry can help us survive." It is a collection that comforts its readers with an impressive number of poems by poets like Sylvia Plath, T.S. Eliot, and Rumi, as well as the equally moving poems of unknown young poets. Rosenberg and November even throw a few of their own poems into the eclectic mix. It is a collection that ultimately shows how common feelings of depression and instability really are—even among the greatest of minds. As May Sarton puts it in her poem "A Glass of Water"— "Someone in dark confusion as I was / When I drank down cold water in a glass, / Drank a transparent health to keep me sane, / After the bitter mood had gone again." KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Graphia, 208p. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Beth Lizardo
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-The poems in this diverse collection range from classic (Shakespeare, Lord Byron) to modern (by the compilers themselves). While some of selections might be too complex and antique for reluctant readers, most of the pieces are powerfully written and easy to understand. Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, and Rumi are among the poets included. Two short introductions explain the inclusion of many of these selections and the significance of each of the book's five sections. A biography section gives interesting summaries of each poet's life. This efficiently organized, concise, and interesting collection is an excellent choice for libraries serving teens. However, as November states in her introduction, "This book is for everyone and anyone."-Jessi Platt, Auburn Public Library, AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This intelligent anthology will accomplish two amazing feats: It will please teen readers and simultaneously satisfy their teachers. Poet, children's author and anthologizer Rosenberg, with former student, November, collect verse that sensitively addresses those readers who are susceptible to emotional downdrafts and uptakes. The poems range from the classics (Wordsworth, Blake) to the contemporary (James Wright, Gerald Stern, Stephen Dobyns) to the just composed (Das Lanzilloti, Deena November)-which guarantees the teen authenticity. Moreover, the poems, organized in five sections, "speak" to one another across time and through generations, addressing theme and subject and giving young readers a sense of immediate connection and belonging. They also lay a foundation for young readers to begin to see for themselves how one work of literature may spark another. For example, included here is Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Sympathy," which features the line "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Unforgettable characters such as J. Alfred Prufrock and Richard Cory make their appearances here as well. Handy backmatter includes poet's biographies and an index of first lines. A must have for teachers who need the just-right book for their eighth-graders. (Poetry. 14+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618564521
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 981,469
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Rosenberg
Liz Rosenberg is a poet and author of more than twenty books for young readers. She teaches English and creative writing at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
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Table of Contents

Sadness Without Reason: Moods A Sad Child by Margaret Atwood Infant Sorrow by William Blake I Hate My Moaning by Gerald Stern Untitled poem: “I like my anger” by Ikkyü The Stranger by Charles Baudelaire A Place for Everything by Louis Jenkins A Larger Loneliness by Eli Bosnick The Eyes of My Regret by Angelina Weld Grimké Let No Charitable Hope by Elinor Wylie A White City by Michael Burkard “Do you think I know what I’m doing . . .?” by Rumi To Solitude by John Keats Reality’s Dark Dream by Samuel Taylor Coleridge End of Winter by Liz Rosenberg Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith

Wild World Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar Much Madness is divinest Sense by Emily Dickinson Father William by Lewis Carroll London by William Blake Holding the Holy Card by J. Patrick Lewis Oda para Leticia by Oscar Bermeo clean that god damned room already by Deena November Her Kind by Anne Sexton Ornate Iron Gates by Das Lanzilloti From The Black Riders and Other Lines by Stephen Crane Kitchen by Twain Dooley In the Boobiehatch by Das Lanzilloti Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio by James Wright Clearly Through My Tears by Susan Love Fitts When I was a kid in Nueva York by Alvin Delgado The world is too much with us by William Wordsworth

Lopsided Love The Folly of Being Comforted by W. B. Yeats He Bids His Love Be At Peace by W. B. Yeats Discord in Childhood by D.H. Lawrence Anecdote by Dorothy Parker Autumn Valentine by Dorothy Parker The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot From A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Wasted by June Jordan One Art by Elizabeth Bishop Melba Street by Deena November Always Secondary by Deena November When We Two Parted by Lord Byron How Heavy the Days . . . by Hermann Hesse Fall On Me by Kate Schmitt The Taxi by Amy Lowell “You don’t have ‘bad’ days and ‘good’ days . . .” by Rumi “When I am with you, we stay up all night . . .” by Rumi

Rapid Tumble No Moment Past This One by Stephen Dobyns The Year I Found by Dieter Weslowski Brotherhood by Yehoshua November Dream Song 22 “Of 1826” by John Berryman Skunk Hour by Robert Lowell Things by Fleur Adcock The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe Hysteria by T. S. Eliot Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath Having It Out with Melancholy by Jane Kenyon Prelude to the Fall by Kate Schmitt Fallen by Kate Schmitt The Waking by Theodore Roethke Jealousy by Elaine Resitfo Babble by Cesar Vallejo I Told Them I Should Be Here by Kate Schmitt Wanting to Die by Anne Sexton Mad Song by William Blake "The first Day’s Night had come” by Emily Dickinson Lines Written During a Period of Insanity (1774) by William Cowper National Depression Awareness Week by Mary Ruefle Anonymous by Susan Love Fitts “There is a light seed grain inside . . .” by Rumi

Wish You Were Here: The Return So, We’ll Go No More a Roving by Lord Byron Poems of Delight by Liz Rosenberg Raising My Hand by Antler nobody but you by Charles Bukowski Window Box by Thomas Scott Fisken Back by Jane Kenyon The Journey by Howard Nelson Jade’s Iguanas Are Dead by Gregory Razran I Think I’ll Call It Morning by Gil Scott-Heron Résumé by Dorothy Parker From Death’s Echo by W. H. Auden Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens From The Prisoner: A Fragment by Emily Brontë A Glass of Water by May Sarton How A Place Becomes Holy by Yehoshua November Sunflower by Rolf Jacobsen Late Fragment by Raymond Carver “For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself . . .” by Rumi Evil Time by Hermann Hesse

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I Just Hope It's Lethal by Liz Rosenberg & Deena November

    This compilation of classical to contemporary poetry defines the state of being a teenager and explores the various emotions and phases passed in the process. Seperating into five sections focusing on individual aspects of growing up, the poetry contained in "I Just Hope It's Lethal" very accurately yet creatively makes the internal struggles and extrenal battles of blossoming teens clear. Opening with the first section, titled "Moods", the book begins to elaborate on the various and ever-changing emotions young adults feel; ranging from lack of belonging to restlessness. The following section titled "Wild World" focuses on judgement, faulty ambitions and worldwide occurences. This particular portion seems to include more than just the individual thoughts of one's self but the impact of outside events and criticism of the public as well. Next is "Lopsided Love", a section dedicated to examine the tosses and turns of young romance. Many of the poems go on to confess that not always will one's love be returned, heartache is prone and if you're lucky, love will stay. Poems contained in the "Rapid Tumble" section of this nonfiction piece reflected the downfall, the breakdown, the time of pure insanity in a teenager's life. It is the most in depth section of the five and perhaps even gives off a more serious feel. Many of these pieces brush upon feelings of jealousy, regret, anger, revenge, helplessness and giving up. The final section switches the spiralling downwards mood of the book into a more optimistic one. It is titled "The Return" and focuses on the feeling of relief after a recovery from a breakdown; the return of happiness from prior difficult situations. With a clever mesh of authors, including both editors themselves, Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath and Jane Kenyon, this book suits as a great read either just for fun or even simply for classroom analization. It captivatingly describes the worries, and issues teenagers bottle up through very intriguing stanzas of poetry.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Important book for teens

    This is an important book for teens who run the gamut of moods from mildly jumpy to out and out crazy. At that age I'd have grabbed for a book like this that addressed how I feel. Wonderful wide selection of poems and poets with helpful bios at the back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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