Tough Boy Sonatasby Curtis Crisler, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)
The darkness--and the goodness--in the lives of the young men of Gary, the armpit-city of Chicago, cries out in this poetry. The Chocolate City. Hell. The Land of Robbing Hoods. Gary, Indiana, has a number of names. It stands as a mother guarding her roach-like inhabitants, their crime, their greed. Has God left this town? Has He left the crumbling church where
The darkness--and the goodness--in the lives of the young men of Gary, the armpit-city of Chicago, cries out in this poetry. The Chocolate City. Hell. The Land of Robbing Hoods. Gary, Indiana, has a number of names. It stands as a mother guarding her roach-like inhabitants, their crime, their greed. Has God left this town? Has He left the crumbling church where parishioners pocket donations for hamburgers and candy? Or does He turn the other cheek to pious morality, happy instead to see laughing and card playing and love from His flock on Saturday night? The solitary voice of the city's young men pose these questions in this bittersweet, poetic collection. Both angry poverty and innocent childhood are explored in this YALSA/ALA Best Book for Young Adults by Curtis Crisler with unclothed sincerity.
Gr 8 Up
In this collection of 38 poems, an unflinching narrative offers a view of the boys who run within the confines of the industrial town of Gary, IN. Their lives, unknown to the "groggy commuters" who flash by on the train, are harsh and difficult, bold and passionate. There's LaRoy, who sings, "i am not a failing flashlight. i am an inspired/inspiration….they know I have/hope, and hope kills…"; the classroom daydreamer who feels that the lopsided view of history he is being taught is whitewashing away his chances to be a contender; and Millicent, the tomboy who crushes with her snarl and good right cross. A grandson is hurting under the lost smile of an addicted grandmother, tough boys get nods of approval from the grown-ups when they learn the art of chops, of jive "…they'd smile to let us know when we had it/down like aristotle and shakespeare/and anansi. And if we could tough it/out we would be something more than/dead carcasses on delaney avenues;/we could become hopeful parents,/first-generation homeowners,/someone's recovered faith,/one project under a groove." These poems are muscular and vivid, fierce with the sound and force of language. Cooper's dreamlike, muted illustrations are a fine counterpoint to the rugged terrain of these young people's experiences.
Susan MoorheadCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Highlights Press
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x (d)
- Age Range:
- 13 - 18 Years
Meet the Author
Curtis L. Crisler is a Cave Canem Fellow at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he teaches creative writing. His work has been published in The Fourth River, Black Arts Quarterly, and the book Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami, edited by Judith R. Robinson. Mr. Crisler lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Floyd Cooper is a renowned children's book illustrator whose works include Granpa's Face by Eloise Greenfield, Meet Danitra Brown by Nikki Grimes, and Miz Berlin Walks by Jane Yolen. Mr. Cooper lives with his wife and two sons in Easton, Pennsylvania.
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