Looking for something new to introduce students to during *poetry month?

Try Poetry Speaks Who I Am.

As the title implies, the poems were selected to encourage the reader, in this case the young adult reader, to enjoy and puzzle over poems about the things that really matter during adolescence: identity development, kisses, dreams, boys, girls, friends… you get the point. Although I am a few years past adolescence, some of my favorites were in there, especially the Lucille Clifton poem I wrote about a few months ago. Here, you can find poems by YA authors, like Ron Koertge and Nikki Grimes, and traditionally studied poets like Poe, Angelou, and Harjo. In fact, it doesn’t seem like any poet was omitted; you get a taste of almost every poet you’ve ever heard of, and, of course, some that you haven’t.

The book is accompanied by a CD that includes forty-four poems, some of which are original recordings read by the poets. One year at NCTE, I went to Sonia Sanchez’s presentation and she talked about the haiku that is included in this collection so I was happy to hear it on the CD. My only wish for the CD is that each speaker would have introduced the poem by stating the title and author before reading it. I listened to the CD in my car and in my office, and both times I did not have the book with me so I could see exactly who wrote each poem and what it’s called.

The final pages of the book include blank pages that encourage readers to try to craft a few poems of their own.

*Of course I’m not suggesting that we should only share poetry during April. I like to read poems that are important to me whenever I need them, and I encourage students to do the same.