Review of Poetry Speaks: Who I Am edited by Elise Paschen

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Poetry Speaks: Who I Am edited by Elise PaschenPoetry Speaks: Who I Am by Elise Paschen
Published by Sourcebooks, Incorporated on 2010
Genres: Juvenile Nonfiction, Poetry
Pages: 136
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Poetry Speaks Who I Amis filled with more than 100 remarkable poems about you, who you are, and who you are becoming. Dive in-find the poem you love, the one that makes you angry, the one that makes you laugh, the one that knocks the wind out of you, and become a part ofPoetry Speaks Who I Amby adding your own inside the book.

Poetry can be life altering. It can be gritty and difficult. It can be hilarious or heart-breaking. And it's meant to be experienced, so we've included a CD on which you'll hear 44 poems, 39 of which are original recordings-you'll only find them here. You'll hear poets both classic and contemporary, well-known and refreshingly new, including:
--Dana Gioia expresses the hunger of a "Vampire's Serenade"
--Elizabeth Alexander waits for that second kiss in "Zodiac"
--Langston Hughes flings his arms wide in "Dream Variations"
--Marilyn Nelson reads to her class in "How I Discovered Poetry"
--Paul Muldoon's poem "Sideman," brought loudly to life by the band Rackett
--And 39 more poems that are immediate and vibrant

From Lucille Clifton's "Here Yet Be Dragons" to Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" to "Tia Chucha," by Luis J. Rodriguez,Poetry Speaks Who I Amis a collection that is dynamic, accessible, challenging, classic, edgy, and ultimately not quite perfect. Just like you. If you're lucky, it'll serve as a gateway to a lifetime lived with poetry. At the very least, it'll be a good time. Dive in, and happy hunting.

First things first, Happy National Poetry Month! I thought I would kick off my own personal celebration of poetry by reviewing Poetry Speaks: Who I Am. I think poetry is such an amazing outlet for healthy expression. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I was not a member of poetry club in high school. So, when an anthology aimed at middle grade/high schoolers comes along, then yes, count me among the curious, because, ya’ll poetry changes lives.

Within Poetry Speaks: Who I Am are a wide swath of poems. They range from contemporary to classic, written by males, females, people of different ethnicity. The subjects of the poems are broad, and especially easy to relate to by the age targeted. The topics go from family, grief, friendship, love, and school. I enjoyed how much variety the poems contained and did not find myself getting bored.

I also really enjoyed the quality of the poems chosen in Poetry Speaks: Who I Am. Some were among my favorites, and I discovered new poems which I really enjoyed the style. I loved that Still I Rise by Maya Angelou was included as well as poems by Sherman Alexie, who I’ve only read his short stories, but not his poetry. I’m actually really glad to finally have read some of his poems.

Overall, Poetry Speaks: Who I Am was a quick read, at 136 pages. Some of the poems were mad short, and all the poems were placed on separate pages, so even if the poem was a haiku, it got it’s own page. Poetry Speaks: Who I Am also comes with a CD featuring some of the poets reading their work. I think that may engage readers who are reluctant to take on poetry, as sometimes what enhances the experience is hearing the cadence of the words and really becoming immersed.

Overall, reading Poetry Speaks: Who I Am was a pleasant experience which caused me to want more poetry in my life.

Other Reviews of Poetry Speaks: Who I Am edited by Elise Paschen:

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I've never really read much poetry, simply because I didn't find the idea of it that interesting–I always wanted to read novels instead. But I recently started to enjoy the flow of words in a poem much more, and this anthology looks excellent. I may have to pick it up!

  2. I'm glad you liked it! I'll be posting my review in the next couple of days but I loved just how relatable even the classic poems were to the target age group. The editors did an awesome job on this one!

  3. Interesting review. I've barely read any poetry since I graduated from uni, but recently I've read a few verse novels and it's reminded me how much I miss it. I don't think this one is out in the UK, but you've definitely reminded me I need to get some poetry into my life again.

  4. I don't know why I don't read poetry more often. When I enjoy it, I really enjoy it a whole lot. I'll keep this anthology in mind.

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