Poetry Collection Review: Leave This Song Behind

Leave This Song Behind, edited by John Meyer, Stephanie Meyer, Adam Halwitz & Cindy Spertner, is a poetry collection comprised of the best Teen Ink poems written in the last five years. Teen Ink is a monthly poetry magazine which accepts submissions from young writers age 13-19 years old. Teen Ink also has a thriving web community (www.teenink.com) with writer’s forums, workshops, contests and guides to summer & college programs.

Even before reading this collection of poems, I was applauding Teen Ink for supporting poetry and artistic expression for teenagers. It is through poetry that I began exploring the world around me as a teen, and arguably that is why poetry is still my first love as both a reader and writer today. To have the support of not only teachers, but others in our literary communities is crucial. Today, resources like Teen Ink are paving the way for new writers to explore writing in a myriad of ways.

The poetry in Leave This Song Behind is as varied as our cultural and musical histories, informed by the young writer’s plethora of life experiences in their short years. The collection is broken into sections based on different writing style or themes. Some are more sensory in nature than others, some pieces contain spare yet moving language, others make surprising connections – while still others tackle everyday subjects or objects in fresh ways. What all of the poems have in droves is emotion, and because they are written from the perspectives of teenagers, I wasn’t surprised. What other time of life is so filled with change and uncertainty, with both joy & sadness – fear & anticipation often felt in the same breath? Poetry is fueled by those who give voice to powerful emotions and life experiences, and so it is that teens can astonish us with how they craft words. And though their words may, in some cases, feel raw and un-revised – this is also, I think, at the heart of what contemporary poetry is today. It is rough around the edges, it is newly formed, and it is very diverse.

And perhaps that is the best reason to pick up this poetry collection. To read the writing of young people who took a risk and made their voices heard, adding their words to a rising cacophony of diverse voices around the world. Through the noise, if we listen, we can hear beautiful music that deserves to be played, along with rhyme, meter and metaphor that dance from the pages to form our hearts. Those hearts are filled with the poetry of our interconnected lives. And that is a beautiful thing.

*I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review Links:

https://www.netgalley.com/book/86629/review/42459

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2106585706

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RTMYJOD9FRJ4M/

Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a great day. 🙂 -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/spacetodreampoetry

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

 

Children’s Book Review: Betwixters

Betwixters: Once Upon a Time, by Laura C. Cantu, is a fantasy for middle-grade readers with plenty of adventure and humor. It also has an anti-bullying message, which in itself makes it a worthy read for middle schoolers, who may recognize themselves in one of the characters or situations. What fantasy readers will love about this story is that it has so many elements that are appealing: a mysterious, forbidden Dark Wood, a Precarious Portal, and kingdoms with myriads of magical creatures.

One magical creature, a faerie named Neevya, finds herself plunged through a portal into the human world, where she meets protagonist Noah and his friends Ethan and Skye. After being chased into the forbidden Dark Wood by Grucker, the school bully, this trio of friends rescue Neevya from a trap that has been placed in the Wood by a mysterious old man. The friends decide to take Neevya home with them, and of course this leads to some unexpected and funny moments – as well as more adventure. The chapters are cleverly titled, fast-paced and entertaining, with more light than dark in them. By the story’s end, the friends have had a whirlwind of adventures, but their journey isn’t finished – and the author sets up the beginning of a sequel that is sure to come.

For any middle-schooler, as well as lovers of fantasy, Betwixters has all the classic fantasy elements to entertain and keep young readers reading. It also contains diverse characters and an important message about standing up for yourself against bullies, with help from your friends. For these reasons, and the fact that kids will be drawn to a magical adventure, it is a book that should earn a place on many middle school library shelves.

*I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

https://www.netgalley.com/book/109894/review/424591

Review also posted on Goodreads

 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2097520588

Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a magical day. -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich