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The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

Love Poetry and Poems to Love
selected by Janice Del Negro

Poetry, despite notions to the contrary, is the great leveler; a wide range of readers recognize the authoritative beauty of the perfect thought or moment perfectly expressed. Drawn to the power of language, preschoolers through young adults have an affinity for poetry; they take to it easily and with certainty, absorbing what they can and will.* Here are a few collections of love poetry (it is the month for them) along with some collections of poetry to love that happened to catch my shelf-perusing eye. Peruse your own shelves, fill a display or book bin for Valentine's Day, and watch the poetry fly out the door like winged Cupid. (Well, it is the month for him.)

--Janice M. Del Negro, editor

*Then they grow up. Unlike lifelong favorite genres such as mysteries, biographies, and science fiction, poetry is genre most people have forgotten they like.

  • Adoff, Arnold. Love Letters. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 1997.
    "If 'Roses are red, violets are blue' simply won't convey the subtle tonality of a message from the heart, somewhere in this score of poems is just the valentine that will. . . . Desimini provides a treasure-trove of mixed-media images. . . . A stunning book design enhances the unique interdependence of visual images and text. When it's got to be sweet but can't be saccharine, drop oneof these on a desktop or into a booktalk and wait for the sparks to fly. (BCCB 3/97, Gr. 4-8)

  • Cole, William, ed. A Book of Love Poems. Viking, 1965.
    "A very nice collection indeed, of about 170 poems on an inexhaustible topic. The poems range in time from Shakespeare to Shel Silverstein; the poems range from rapture to despair, and the choices of both were made with discrimination." (BCCB 12/66, Gr. 9 up)

  • Frost, Robert, comp. You Come Too: Favorite Poems for the Young Reader; written and compiled by Robert Frost. Holt, 1959.
    "A book of poems selected from his past writings by the author, and meant to be read to-or read by-young people. The choices are felicitous; some of the poems are humorous, some sharply evocative and brief, some are longer and more sophisticated in concept. The book serves, therefore, a range of age and taste. . . ." (BCCB 1/60, Gr. 6 up)

  • Gordon, Ruth, ed. Under All Silences: Shades of Love. Harper & Row, 1987.
    "Rich but never heavy, this collection of sixty-six love poems offers a taste of Maya Angelou, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Rexroth, e e cummings, Kenneth Ptchen, Amy Lowell, and a range of others, including many translations from non-Western cultures and/or earlier times. . . . A few choices. . . . are well-known, but many are not popularly anthologised, and the expressions of love common to contemporary, ancient Egyptian, or Medieval Japanese poets make a striking statement about emotions that young people of today share with those in other periods and places." (BCCB 10/87, Gr. 7 up)

  • Hearne, Betsy. Love Lines: Poetry in Person. McElderry, 1987.
    "A collection of fifty-nine lyric poems about love explores the joys of discovery, the riches of relationships, and the sorrows of loss." (BCCB 10/87, Gr. 9 up)

  • Ho, Minfong, comp. Maples in the Mist: Children's Poems from the Tang Dynasty; trans. and comp. by Minfong Ho; illus. by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng. Lothrop, 1996.
    "These poems may be 'little windows to . . . China,' but they can also be enjoyed for the potent simplicity of their images and language. . . . Smoky watercolor illustrations reveal nature's mysterious beauty through rich colors that rang from vivid greens and yellows to smeared and subtle grays and purples." (BCCB 9/96, Gr. 4-6)

  • Hughes, Langston. Don't You Turn Back: Poems by Langston Hughes; comp. by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Knopf, 1969.
    "Handsomely illustrated with woodcuts in black, white, and red, [this is] a good collection of poems by Hughes, many of them written early in his careeer. . . . Direct and succinct, the poems have a sensitive and elemental simplicity that have made them particularly popular. . . ."(BCCB 9/70, Gr. 5 up)

  • Janesczko, Paul, comp. Pocket Poems: Selected for a Journey by Paul B. Janesczko. Bradbury, 1985.
    "Janesczko has selected for this small volume. . . . poems that have variety of structure and style and mood but a rather remarkable consistency of quality. None are more than sixteen lines long; there are over a hundred poems by almost a hundred modern American poets. . . . " (BCCB 7/85, Gr. 6 up)

  • Janesczko, Paul B. That Sweet Diamond: Baseball Poems; illus. by Carole Katchen. Atheneum, 1998.
    "'He approaches the plate,/ ponderous,/ swinging smoothly/ in slow motion/ knowing his choice is simple:/swing or/ not.' The batter may be the star on the field, but he shares the glory in this collection with everyone from the peanut vendors. . . . to the aching catcher. . . . to the nuns in the stands. . . ." (BCCB 7/98, Gr. 3-8)

  • Livingston, Myra Cohn, comp. I Like You, If You Like Me: Poems of Friendship. McElderry, 1987.
    Nearly a hundred poems are organized into nine sections on various aspects of friendship, including loneliness and yearning for a friend, first and other stages of friendship, animal companions, fights and reconciliations, and parting. . . . Many of the selections are light, with autograph verses, a taste of Lear's nonsense, and jovial rhymes from the likes of Dennis Lee, X.J. Kennedy, and Russell Hoban setting the pace." (BCCB 4/87, Gr. 4-6)

  • McCullough, Frances, ed. Love is Like the Lion's Tooth. Harper & Row, 1984.
    "Passion, not romance, is the theme of this fine small anthology." (BCCB 6/84, Gr. 8 up)

  • Nye, Naomi Shihab, comp. I Feel a Little Jumpy Around You: A Book of Her Poems and His Poems Collected in Pairs; comp. by Naomi Shihab Nye and Paul B. Janeczko. Simon, 1996. "The poems come in pairs, the male-authored entry always leading and the female-authored one always getting the last word. The coupled poems sometimes share a subject, sometimes a setting, sometimes a theme or an image. . . . that directs readers to a specific way into each poem. The poems themselves, almost all contemporary free verse and from poets ranging from the famous (Rita Dove, W.S. Merwin) to the less-known, are of high standard." (BCCB 5/96, Gr. 7 up)

  • Rogasky, Barbara, comp. Winter Poems; comp. by Barbara Rogasky; illus. By Trina Schart Hyman. Scholastic, 1994.
    "Rogasky's compilation and Hyman's illustrations follow the winter cycle from first warning ('Something Told the Wild Geese' by Rachel Field) to spring's beginning (an excerpt from 'Blossom Themes' by Carl Sandburg). In between come twenty-three poems or excerpts from poems that celebrate or ruminate upon the cold, the dark, the snow, and the stars. . . ." (BCCB 1/95, Gr. 3-6)

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    This page was last updated on February 1, 2000.