Tell the World by WritersCorps | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Tell the World
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Tell the World

4.5 2
by WritersCorps

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Through poetry we tell the world who we are, where we're from, what we love, what we think, how we feel, and why we hope. Tell the World is a stunning collection of poems by teens who have taken part in workshops run by WritersCorps, a national alliance of literary arts programs for youth. Their words represent the thoughts, hopes, and dreams of teens


Through poetry we tell the world who we are, where we're from, what we love, what we think, how we feel, and why we hope. Tell the World is a stunning collection of poems by teens who have taken part in workshops run by WritersCorps, a national alliance of literary arts programs for youth. Their words represent the thoughts, hopes, and dreams of teens everywhere, offering both insight and empathy.

Editorial Reviews

Katie Roiphe
All the poems in this collection are gathered from literacy workshops run by WritersCorps, which teach students, often from schools in poor neighborhoods, how to use poetry to write about their lives. Again one sees the benefit of writing as a way of defining and mastering and clarifying. These kids are using the verse form, stripped bare, to communicate, using the silences and emphases of a single line on the page to get through the tangle of an emotion.
—The New York Times
VOYA - Mary Ann Harlan
"Through poetry, we tell the world who we are," declares the jacket flap of this collection. WritersCorps is a national arts and literacy program that encourages teens to write and share their writing, mentored and taught by poets and authors. The teen poetry here explores "Who We Are," "Where We're From," "What We Love," "What We Think," "How It Feels," and "Why We Hope." The quality of the poetry is expectedly uneven, but the work provides a compelling picture of teens living in cities, struggling with their lives, and dreaming of their future. There are moments of excellence, as seen in lines reading, "and the tiny red tomatoes / filled with the water of sadness" or "I am the confidant of the king / the princess / daughter of Safria." There also are moments that are less original, but overall one is drawn by the teen's diverse voices. An introduction by Sherman Alexie is particularly interesting. An earlier WritersCorps poetry collection, Paint Me Like I Am (HarperCollins, 2003/VOYA February 2003) has proved popular with teens, and this book should as well. Reviewer: Mary Ann Harlan
KLIATT - Jim Beschta
In "A Collage," 16-year-old Indiana Pehlivanova states, "The little mute girl was looking for her / Voice, in a drop of water." That search might well describe the poems contained in Tell the World, the second collection of adolescent poetry presented by WritersCorps, or serve as a metaphor for WritersCorps itself as this national alliance of writers attempts to give voice to the teens of San Francisco, Washington, DC and the Bronx. There is an energy and honesty that characterizes these gathered pieces, treating often typical concerns of the age, like love that "fades and fades like / Chalk washing slowly off the / Sidewalk when it's raining." And there is strength in an evident idealistic confrontation with a quixotic world beyond the individual, "This is the year everybody gets paid bread, / and minimum wage doubles. / This is the year Bush brings the troops home / and feels the pain he causes others." Yet the overriding motifs seem to be of homelands left behind, "India, why didn't you tell me / to stay in your arms?" and the quest for identity, "I come from / a long line / of people who / divided the men / from the women." The appeal of this collection lies in its raw integrity rather than its poetic polish. It gives voice to a disenfranchised segment of our population in a way that will communicate clearly and effectively in the classroom: a niche market to be sure, but an important one. Reviewer: Jim Beschta
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

This worthy collection of brief poems offers an array of teen voices, all participants in WritersCorps workshops in the Bronx, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Ngoc Minh Nguyen's "Homesickness" is particularly strong: "Let me become wind/to fly with the kite of childhood." Other poems capture a slice of teenage life, such as riding the bus to ballet class in Annie Yu's "Saturdays" and Kenneth Mozee, Jr.'s "Summer," which evokes the quicksilver delights of the season. Some dazzle through stark simplicity, such as Jaquan Clements's "Middle-School Haiku" and Sarah Verghese's "Questions Beyond Answers." The raw emotion expressed in Shekuanzie Dorch's "Struggles on Living in a Shelter" makes an indelible impression. An essay by WritersCorps teacher Michelle Matz adds a vivid picture of her students and their lives. This fine collection should inspire creativity and resonate with teens who find their own hopes, fears, and dreams eloquently voiced in the works of these young poets.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews

This collection of poems from urban teens shows a wide range of life experiences and worldviews. Participants in the WritersCorps program are asked to "tell the world" where they're from, what they love, why they hope and so forth, answering questions that lead to poems that explain their thoughts and feelings. They write about family, politics, their heritage, love and many other topics that affect all teens, not just those in urban areas. All of the poems are written with passion, but their maturity level, fluency and ability to convey the writer's ideas without resorting to cheap emotional manipulation vary. As in many collections of teen writing, the poems are mostly ordinary, written with good intentions but an obvious lack of experience. Included in some chapters are essays from WritersCorps teachers that chronicle their journeys as readers and writers and what it's like to be a part of the organization. Although the poems aren't Shakespeare, teens who are assigned to read poetry or have an interest in creating it may want to see their peers' approaches. (Poetry anthology. 12 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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Read an Excerpt

Tell the World

Tell the World Who We Are

Who are you? Are you the child of the city you live in or the country you come from? Are you as steady as the beat of the music you love, as surprising as a bright flash of lightning, or as soothing as the sound of your grandmother's songs? Write a poem that shows through images that compare—metaphors and similes—who you are.

Tell the World. Copyright (c) by . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Writers Corps was founded in 1994 in three American urban centers—San Francisco, California, Washington, D.C., and the Bronx, New York—with a mission to transform lives through the written word. Since its inception, the organization has helped forty thousand children and teenagers improve their writing skills and express their ideas and experiences. WritersCorps has published two collections of teen poems with HarperTeen: Paint Me Like I Am and Tell the World.

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