Pierced by a Ray of Sun: Poems About the Times We Feel Alone

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Pierced By a Ray of Sun offers a collection of poems about all of us, for we all sometimes feel we are different and alone. Throughout time poets everywhere have described these feelings and have recognized them as a cost of being human and sensitive to ourselves.

Ruth Gordon has selected poetry that not only reveals the universality of sometimes feeling lonely and alienated, but also stresses, as the poet Jim...

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Overview

Pierced By a Ray of Sun offers a collection of poems about all of us, for we all sometimes feel we are different and alone. Throughout time poets everywhere have described these feelings and have recognized them as a cost of being human and sensitive to ourselves.

Ruth Gordon has selected poetry that not only reveals the universality of sometimes feeling lonely and alienated, but also stresses, as the poet Jim Northrup writes, that people have "Toughed it out/Survived."

Includes Poems By:

Carl Sandburg, May Sarton, Paul Simon, Rainer Maria Rilke, John Keats, William Butler Yeats,

Malka Heifetz Tussman, Bob Henry Baber, James Masao Mitsui, Jim Northrup, Dona Luongo Stein

An international anthology of poems about loneliness.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpGordon's anthologies, regardless of their overriding themes (love in Under All Silences, [1987], the nature of poetry in Peeling the Onion [1993, both HarperCollins]), are fresh, surprising, and satisfying. The poems range over time and cultures, yet the poets' voices reach deep into modern readers' hearts. Each of the 73 selections here expresses the often inexpressible sense of loss and loneliness that haunts us all. To be born is to be separate (Natalie Robbins's ``Birth Elegy VI'': ``I've learned something:/nothing is fair, but/you can't change the rules''); and to know someone or something leads ultimately to separation. Robert Cording writes of a student who died of AIDS: ``...Each darkening bruise precise as a writer's word/Saying, at last, who you wereexactly/And to anyone who would listen.'' To read this collection is to be reminded, keenly, of the common humanity of our sense of isolation. This book is a great gift, a response to the proverb Gordon includes: ``We are lonely.../until we find ourselves.''Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
Sally Estes
"Am I the only person on Earth?" This question begins Gordon's very brief, on-target note to her readers and sets the stage for a superb compilation of poems that crosses the world's cultures and eras. "You ask me what / the word alienation means," says Italian Giovanni Giudici; Yevgeny Yevtushenko speaks of envying "a boy / who will achieve far more / than I" ; May Sarton asks, "Must we lose what we love / To know how much we loved it?" Joan Aiken and Cynthia Rylant are represented along with Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich; Paul Simon ("I Am a Rock" ) as well as John Keats, Rainer Maria Rilke, Carl Sandburg, and other poets, many in translation from a variety of Eastern and Western languages. The organization of the selections is noteworthy, not only allowing readers to segue smoothly from poem to poem, but also inviting them to sample at random; topics range from the timeless to the timely, emotions from hope to despair. Not since "Under All Silences: Shades of Love" (1987) has Gordon produced such a YA-directed work; the collection will speak with immediacy to YAs of all ages.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060236144
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 13 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chidren of the Mafiosi

are
sometimes like you were;
have Chrsitmas and Grandma
torrone and lasagna
birthdays with favorite cousins,
and nightmares.

children of the mafiosi
are not sure what daddy does,
although it's important
and secret.
sometimes mama cries
and we go away suddenly at night.

sometimes strangers come into the kitchen
where dad's home during the day cooking;
they don't take hats or coats off but sit
at the kitchen table with coffee and we are introduced then
pushed out of the room.

when police come to the door
we are polite and innocent
for we are older and we know
what dad does, where he goes when he's not home for a long long time.

the children of the mafiosi
grow up, we become nurses,
real estate agents, cops, teachers, secretaries
social workers, engineers, truck drivers, and have families too; most

of us do not carry on our father's business,
never visit the penitentiary again,
do not carry guns in our suitcases,
do not drive white cadillacs;
we do not ask mother what it was like.

at night, for children of the mafiosi
pillow explode like car engines, women are followed by men who
work with knives, then we wait under the sheets
listening for daylight
when we are honest,
eager to please, responsible,
us children of the mafiosi.

By Dona Luongo Stein

Pierced by a Ray of Sun. Copyright © by Ruth Gordon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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