Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Wicked, It's Sexy...It's a Poem?

Warning: This Is Not Grandma's Poetry!

April is National Poetry Month -- and, sure, we love Poe and Frost and Longfellow. But let's talk modern poetry, stuff written for today's teens about today's issues -- friend drama, drugs, divorce, meltdowns, crushes, exams, peer pressure and even fun, fun, fun!

In poetry, it's all fair game. Whatever you're dealing with, there's a poem just for you. Plus, writing poetry is a great way to get down -- and get out -- whatever is on your mind.

Click on any title to learn more...


Poetry is cooler than ever, whether it's Maya Angelou or W. B. Yeats, Tupac Shakur or Sylvia Plath. As proof, Slams -- spoken word poetry readings -- are taking place in cities across the country. Check out this collection edited by the Gossip Girl series' author.

Wicked Poems
Edited by Roger McGough

Got a wicked streak? Check out these poems about people exhibiting various degrees of the bad stuff.

The Rose That Grew from Concrete
By Tupac Shakur

This is Tupac Shakur's most intimate and honest thoughts, uncovered after his death, with the poetry he wrote before he became famous. The poems are passionate, sometimes angry, and always compelling.

I sit in your class. I play by the rules. I'm young. I'm fly. I'm black.

In nine stories and 13 poems, Sharon Flake gives readers insight into the minds of a diverse group adolescent African-American males.

Songstress Alicia Keys shares her most intimate thoughts in this collection drawn from her journal and CDs.



Edited by Sara Bynoe

In this collection of angst, categories include "I Will Never Love Again," "Life Sucks and I Want To Die" and "I Am Alone and No One Understands Me." Need we say more? 

Written in verse, Schutz's memoir reveals her struggles with depression and anxiety after leaving home for college.

Jessie, 15, voices her typical — and not so typical — teen concerns in this hilarious collection of poems. Her musings about trying out new makeup and hairstyles, playing volleyball and cello, and dealing with her annoying younger brother will keep you laughing.

From the editors of The Hell With Love comes a collection of poetry that celebrates commitment, passion and everlasting love.

A sassy and heart-wrenching collection of poems that express the anger, hurt and depression of loss. Poets include Margaret Atwood, Louise Gluck and Gwendolyn Brooks.

A memoir of a young gay man who's growing up, coming out and exploring love.


"When you seek revenge, dig two graves." - Anonymous

An immensely powerful group of poems that address the timeless and uniquely human desires for revenge -- and forgiveness.

Seven teens facing such problems as pregnancy, closeted homosexuality and abuse describe in poetic forms what caused them to leave home -- and where they found home again.

Legends Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and James Baldwin have sung their songs about Harlem. Now, Walter Dean Myers joins their chorus in calling to life the deep, rich and hope-filled history of his home town. Also check out Myers' follow up, Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices.

Poems from Homeroom: A Writer's Place to Start
By Kathi Appelt

A collection of original poems along with creative writing exercises that will inspire you to write about your own life.




How to (Un)Cage a Girl

Block mixes characters from fairy tale and myth -- vampires, mermaids and fairies -- in this collection of urban poems that contrast menace and beauty, innocence and heartbreak, despair and bold confidence.

A Maze Me: Poems For Girls
By Naomi Shihab Nye

Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
And amazing.

Nye encourages teens to write three lines in a notebook every day: See what you notice in your own life. 

WritersCorps works with disadvantaged youth, encouraging teens to express themselves through writing and recording voices that might otherwise not be heard. Their honest poems have a lot to say about race, drugs, abuse and self-image.

Edited by Esther Watson and Mark Todd.

Dramatic, plaintive, despairing and hopeful, this unusual collection has been gathered by artists Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd, then illustrated with stunning paintings.

Middle school its challenges: making new friends, moving from class to class, tests and homework, changing for PE, gossip, school dances and, of course, budding romance.

Features the work of more than 120 poets and artists from 19 countries in the Middle East. If you follow Middle Eastern news, this rich anthology will open the door to the region's rich culture. 


The subject could be morbid, but these poems from all over the world lift the spirit with their truthful feeling and words that sing.


Funny, comforting and surprising, the words in this book explore our lives with dogs: dogs who befriend us, annoy us and accept us.

Meet independent spirits -- young rebels, hardy pioneers, mavericks, athletes and heroines -- who dared difficult tasks and showed the strength of the human spirit.

Remember to click on any title to reserve it at your favorite library branch!

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