Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eighty-five short poems by women poets, including Maya Angelou, Mary Oliver and Alice Walker, explore sex, race, religion and equality. Ages 11-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Rife with emotion, this brief volume (about 90 poems) explores women's issues of race, status, identity, and equality. Sex, religion, politics, and other volatile issues are present, but other offerings reflect on celebrating a birthday, growing up, challenging authority, and the psychology of shopping. Some powerful works emanate here: Maya Angelou's ``Phenomenal Woman'' echoes the pride of womanhood in rhythmic, moving lines; Nikki Giovanni and Alice Walker also make strong showings. Cynthia MacDonald's gem, ``Accomplishments,'' tells of a daughter's constant struggle to please her mother, only to have her attempts end in disinterest, unappreciation, and needless tragedy. The title poem by Liz Lochhead, written as a rap lyric, provides an independent and rather opposing view of the charmed holiday. Simplistic pen-and-ink drawings break up the collection, but do little else. The experiences chronicled by multicultural poets are universally female, but perhaps understood best by older readers. There is complexity here, and some of the poems may require added maturity to comprehend fully the poets' intent. As a stand-alone read, the collection may be limiting not only in its feminist slant, but also because of the complexity of the selections. Women's studies students, however, may find this a helpful companion to other collections of feminist poetry or essays.-Sharon Korbeck, Milwaukee Public Library
The condescending "young" of the subtitle is misleading: these are witty, sophisticated, nonmessagey poems. They are angry, funny, tender, dramatic, full of surprise and conflict and self-mockery. Candid about failure and betrayal, they play with language, role, and stereotype. Even the title poem half questions itself, and "Lullaby" is by a child for her mother. Originally published in England, the anthology draws on poets from many cultures and includes well-known poets, such as Nikki Giovanni, Sharon Olds, and Mary Oliver, as well as several new voices. A heartbreaking poem translated from the Japanese is about women working on the conveyor belt at a fish cannery, as trapped and processed as the creatures they seal into cans. Many of the voices are celebratory, assertive without being anti-male (in one poem, a girl envies the way boys play, "no back-biting, hair-pulling / just out-front"); they are lyrical about love, candid about pressures from overbearing parents and about the necessary break with home ("My room is too small for me"). These poems open up the range of love and family.