Reviews

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Gr. 6^-12. "I am so in love I can't find my hat." There is nothing portentous about the contemporary poems and the occasional black-and-white photographs by Michael Nye in this anthology. The losses range from the trivial (a glove left in an airport terminal) to the tragic (a husband killed in Vietnam). In fact, as Nye points out in her splendid introduction, one reason why we fuss so much about petty losses is because we cannot bear to face the inevitable larger ones that can never be redeemed or reclaimed. This is a large collection of 140 poets, some well known (including William Stafford and Lucille Clifton), many published here for the first time, several in translation. Different poems will grab individual readers, depending on where they are now. The full-page portraits, mostly of teens, are never literal illustrations; whether posed or candid, they make you imagine their stories. The poets' voices are so intensely personal that you just have to turn to the biographical notes at the back after you have read each poem. They speak of failure, of being a "loser," of language (one bilingual poem is about what gets lost, not in translation, but between the happening of love or pain and its coming into words). Nuala Archer says plainly, "To lose or be lost quickens everything." Tell English teachers about this collection; they will find it a great stimulus for students' personal writing. --Hazel Rochman


School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-"Loss" may seem a curious subject around which to center a collection of poetry, but this fine anthology feels absolutely natural. Lost memories, lost relationships, regret-each poem pierces and then releases readers, who pocket a new treasure at the end of each page. Naomi Nye has brought together over 100 selections from well-known adult poets as well as from those who are new or not widely published, from around the world. Notes on the contributors include quotes from the poets about their lives and work. Jennifer Weinblatt says, "Teenagers are often accused of melodrama, but there is a lot of genuine drama inherent in the teenage years...," and this sensibility permeates the collection. Michael Nye's black-and-white photographic portraits are as inventive and speak as much as the poems; in fact, they work best if viewed as independent works of art, instead of as illustrations. They add to the precise design of the book, on whose pages the words "What Have You Lost?" "What Have You Found?" float like random, ghostly reminders. As with Ruth Gordon's collection, Pierced by a Ray of Sun (HarperCollins, 1995), and Liz Rosenberg's Earth-Shattering Poems (Holt, 1995), What Have You Lost? puts into the hands of young adults new poems that speak to that intensely lonely, but consciousness-exploding time when they find themselves "Lost again,/where the world begins" (John Brandi's "Wilderness Poem").-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.