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review 2017-04-16 20:17
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson - Emily Dickinson,Rachel Wetzsteon

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson contains a sizeable sample of the total works of the reclusive poet, who only came to prominence after her death.  Containing 593 poems separated into five different themes, roughly a third of her overall productivity, this collection gives the reader a wonderful look into the talent of a woman who hid her art not only from the world but also her own family.  Besides nearly 600 poems of Dickinson’s work, the reader is given a 25 page introduction to the poet and an analysis of her work by Dr. Rachel Wetzsteon who helps reveal the mysterious artist as best as she can and help the reader understand her work better.  Although neither Wetzsteon’s introduction and analysis nor Dickinson’s work is wanting, the fact that this collection gives only a sample of the poet’s work is its main and only flaw.

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review 2017-04-12 20:37
Magdalene, by Marie Howe [poetry]
Magdalene: Poems - Marie Howe

I began reading Marie Howe when I was an undergrad taking my first poetry workshops. At first, I wasn't sure I liked her style, which is deceptively simple or plain. This was a contrast to many other poets I was introduced to at the same time, such as Mark Doty and Yusef Komunyakaa. But somewhere along the line, I fell in love with her aesthetic, and that first book of hers I read, What the Living Do, remains a favorite and a touchstone.


I now recognize and admire the delicate straightforwardness of Howe's language, which packs as much power as any formal poem or one with more verbal jujitsu. Her lines can be long, with lots of room between them or stanzas. They feel quiet, contemplative, so when there's a turn or revelation coming, it heightens the impact. I'm trying to explain her appeal, but part of it is that I can't. Or I could if I analyzed it to death, and I prefer letting the magic linger.


The poems' subjects range from desire to mental health, self-perception, spirituality, and motherhood. Though I don't read the book like one overarching narrative, it does feel like there's an arc; there's a fullness to that arc that somehow replicates the sensation of completing a big, fat novel. You have an idea of a life.


Here's a favorite:


How the Story Started


I was driven toward desire by desire.

believing that the fulfillment of that desire was an end.

There was no end.


Others might have looked into the future and seen

a shape inside the coming years --

a house, a child, a man who might be a help.


I saw his back bent over what he was working on,

the back of his neck, how he stood in his sneakers,

and wanted to eat him.


How could I see another person, I mean who he was--apart from me--

apart from that?


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review 2017-04-07 22:06
Love That Dog - Sharon Creech

This is a chapter book made to look like a poetry journal of Jack a student in Mrs. Stretchberry's classroom. At first he doesn't like writing poetry for class. However, with encouragement he opens up more to poetry. As he opens up more to poetry he also opens up more about his pet dog that he used to have. At the end of the story Jack invites his favorite poet to visit his classroom he then shares with this poet a poem he wrote about his dog.


This is a good book for student who are uncomfortable with things such as writing poetry. This book could be a class assigned book where students have to read a ceratin amount each week. You could then give poetry lessons based off of the assigned writing for that week.


The lexile level for this book is 1010L

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review 2017-04-07 21:03
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

This has been a favorite of mine since I was a young child, and my 3rd grade teacher introduced this book to me. This book is a series of short poem that are creative, engaging, and whimsical that grasp the attention of students. This entire book does a great job of introducing poetry to children in a fun and exciting way.  I would use this book as an exercise for students to write their own creative poem, and a discussion about how poetry can be about anything just like the poems in the book.  

Reading Level K-6

Lexile Level - NA

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review 2017-04-04 23:11
Llama Llama Mad at Mama - Anna Dewdney

This book is about a llama who is mad at his mom for making him go to the supermarket. I would use this book for a rhyming lesson. It has a lot of rhyming words and is an easy read. It would be a good reference for students. It is leveled 370 L. 

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