Two wrenching themes inform the collection Revenge and Forgiveness: An Anthology of Poems, edited by Patrice Vecchione, which the editor says was inspired by the "tragedy of September 11." She includes poems from across cultures and centuries, and poets from Shakespeare to Robert Frost and Francisco X. Alarc n. In "Quatrain: Forgive Me Not," Lilla Cabot Perry writes, "Forgive me not! Hate me and I shall know/ Some of Love's fire still burns within your breast!/ Forgiveness finds its home in hearts at rest,/ On dead volcanoes only lies the snow." (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This collection of poems, centered around the titular themes, offers readers a wide array of insight into human nature. Anger, grief, sorrow, and regret are conveyed through poems from both classic and contemporary writers. Frost, Whitman, and Dickinson co-exist beside Lucille Clifton, Sandra Cisneros, and Naomi Shihab Nye. This poetry is to be chewed and digested slowly; there are no fast-food poems here. Secondary English teachers will find in this volume an ample supply of work to supplement their textbooks during National Poetry Month each April. The only drawback from the teen reader's perspective is that many of the poems require life experiences beyond their ken. Indeed, many teens have suffered from the pangs that lead to revenge; many have also found a way to forgiveness in difficult circumstances. But the depth of teen emotions is not the focus of this collection. Rather, many poems take an adult stance, one that might be foreign to younger readers. Recommend that educators begin slowly with this anthology, sharing a few poems aloud and leading discussions about the language, style, and content of the works. Better yet, introduce readers to the collections edited by Betsy Franco that contain poems from teen writers, You Hear Me? (Candlewick, 2000/VOYA December 2000) and Things I Have to Tell You (2001/VOYA October 2001). VOYA Codes 4Q 2P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Henry Holt, 160p., Ages 15 to 18.
Teri S. Lesesne
Born out of a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, this stirring compilation of poems about revenge and forgiveness will challenge readers to ask hard questions about their own natures. In the editor's introduction, she states, "revenge and forgiveness are both the result of something elsea wrong committed or perceived" and "each is a way of responding." How we move "through sorrow and pain, and on to the other side" is key. The poems span ages and cultures, from a Quechan myth to Emily Dickinson, from Shakespeare to Sandra Cisneros. Some, like "The Minefield" by Diane Thiel, cover war situations. The poem "What They Wanted" explores the effects of the Vietnam War on one man. Other poems explore the risks of love, whether romantic or familial. The collection ends with Lucille Clifton's poem "Let There be New Flowering," which closes with "let love be at the end." Detailed biographical notes give readers greater insight into the poets and their works. Our need to grapple with vengeful feelings and to move beyond them is universal and has never been greater. This excellent anthology is both timely and timeless. 2004, Henry Holt, Ages 12 up.
Valerie O. Patterson
Gr 7 Up-Inspired by the events of September 11, this excellent anthology illustrates how people deal individually with grief and anger of all types. While subjects range from lovers, friends, parents, and strangers to politics, terrorism, slavery, and war, all of the poems speak to the natural human urge to respond to a wrong whether by forgiving or by taking revenge. Beginning with a song from a Native American myth, "My Heart, You Might Pierce It and Take It," which sets the tone for this collection, the volume ends on a hopeful note with Lucille Clifton's "Let There Be New Flowering." The range of authors included is vast, from the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus through Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, and contemporary poets like Naomi Shihab Nye, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, and Vecchione herself. The introduction is thoughtful in its discussion of revenge and forgiveness in their various forms. The biographical notes at the end are fascinating and often include quotes from the poets themselves about the works presented in the collection. Each entry includes additional titles for those who want more exposure to a particular writer. Vecchione's goal for this book, to help readers to see themselves and others more clearly, to guide them past pain to understanding, has been beautifully and intelligently reached.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The editor of engaging poetry anthologies for young adults, Vecchione has produced an accessible, stimulating, and timely collection. The poems cross time, from Catullus's "Grief reached across the world to get me" to poet laureate Louise Gluck's " . . . I thought / that pain meant / I was not loved. / It meant I loved." Most are by contemporary English language poets, mainly lyric and narrative free verse, though entries from the "cannon" (Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare) broaden the tone. Contemporary selections like Stephen Dunn's "To a Terrorist," Naomi Shihab Nye's "Jerusalem," or Alison Luterman's "Another Vigil at San Quentin" bring the themes to bear on today's political situations; while Sandra Cisneros's "You Called Me Coraz-n," Ellen Bass's "Why People Murder," or Lucille Clifton's "Let there be new flowering," show how we as individuals bring these themes to bear in our own lives. Extensive comments, biographies, and reading lists from each poet round out this first-choice anthology for today's teens. (Nonfiction. 12 )