Slow Dance Heart Break Blues

Slow Dance Heart Break Blues

5.0 2
by Arnold Adoff, William Cotton

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Here's a book of poetry that breaks all the rules. It doesn't rhyme (well maybe there's one here or there), it's not organized in stanzas (maybe one or two-and they're numbered), and you don't necessarily read the poems top to bottom (column by column can be fun). These poems explore the frequently harsh realities of love, school, acne, and drugs in a teenager's life. The world they speak of is painful, challenging, isolating, and ultimately hopeful. They celebrate the individual, acknowledge the pain of daily living, and are accompanied by photographic collages filled with mundane items in a fragmented format that reflects the divided lives of the intended readers. This book challenges readers to go the extra mile to do the right thing.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Arnold Adoff's Slow Dance Heart Break Blues, illustrated by William Cotton, is destined to grab the hearts and minds of teens. In words so simple, so well timed to the rapid beat of their interests, so fresh and touching to their wonder about each other, Adoff has captured the exuberant aura and the angst of adolescence. The title poem addresses the complexity of these newly forming adults: "...and / will the sun for real rise up tomorrow / and / will we live forever / and / will we do some good / for some people while we are on this true blue planet / for this crooked eye wink of time / and / will I ever learn to love me first..."
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Playing with shape and rhythm is nothing new for Adoff, and here he uses those techniques to illuminate the thoughts of adolescents. Words fall on the pages as images might come and go from a teen's mind and mouth. From the very brief (one poem is only four words long) to the full-page barrage of emotions, the poet is quite adept at listening to the voices in readers' heads. ``Will I ever learn to love me first?'' and ``Will the sun for real rise up tomorrow?'' are just two of the alternately philosophical and realistic concerns just bursting to be released from the jumble of the teenage mind. Adoff uncovers the masks teens wear, poses the question of love versus lust, offers a look at the dangers of drug use, and presents telling glimpses of body image. There is a beat to many of the selections, keeping readers moving forward. The poems' free-form shapes enforce the transitory and flashing images. In one sense, the structure aids the readability, making the verses appear as quick reads. But there is a great deal of depth here, with some of the selections providing more of an intellectual challenge. These flashes are fast and funky and will have readers questioning not only what poetry is (and isn't), but also taking another look at who and where they are in light of today's fast-moving issues and society.-Sharon Korbeck, formerly at Milwaukee Public Library
Susan Dove Lempke
Adoff addresses his poetry to modern, urban teens in a gritty, hip-hop style. He manages to create poetry from the universal concerns of love and loneliness, the specific teen concerns of acne and braces, and unpleasant realities like selling and taking drugs. The relentless self-loathing of adolescence is captured in poems such as "Listen to the Voice in Your Head" ("No one will ever love you / and the world will turn its great equatorial back on you, / and you will live in a swamp of defeat and self-pity" ), carefully keeping on the right side of the line between self-deprecating humor and adult zingers. William Cotton's photo collages use reality but, like the poems, give it a twist: the two together may renew the perspectives of both adult and teen readers.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.29(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Slow Dance Heart Break Blues 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I was in junior high this was my favorite book of poems. I had never realy liked poetry before but this releven odd little book was and is awsom. It has great pictures to!