cover image Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25

Naomi Shihab Nye, . . Greenwillow, $16.99 (236pp) ISBN 978-0-06-189637-8

Nye (Honeybee ) presents an anthology of poets under the age of 25, each of whom contribute four poems. The poets chiefly employ free verse and utilize intensely personal material, but these are their sole similarities. The poems cover territory spiritual and saccharine, philosophical and experimental, angry and irreverent (“do you think/ if you left your house/ emily dickinson/ your poems would have titles?”). Some writers are concerned with excavating the past, contemplating death and illness, dissecting class divides, and questioning feelings of displacement, be it geographical, emotional, or cultural (Amal Khan, born in Pakistan, writes, “They have called me subcontinental,/ Ethnic and oriental—/ Suffering and my creed—/ It is a romantic thing indeed”). Several exhibit a delicacy in the handling of memory and attention to detail; “She collages her disasters/ by finding her own feelings in the/ magazine faces,” writes Ben Westlie. While the poems don't necessarily break new ground, the collection is gripping and provocative in its portrayal of vastly different lives and experiences, strong sense of place, and sheer exuberance. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)