Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Poetry Book Review: "School Poetry"


Koertge,Ron. The Brimstone Journals. 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2001. ISBN:0-7636-1302-9


Koertge presented a well-written free-verse poetry novel that details the lives of fifteen high school students, who are in the Branston High School class of 2001. Each student shares excerpts of their lives and the many problems that they face such as peer pressure, depression, eating disorders, violence and drugs. For example, one student named Boyd is very hostile to the majority of his fellow peers and decides to make a "hit list". Readers will find this novel engaging and will want to keep reading to find out the conclusion. The text format is easy to follow and Koertge's writing will allow the reader to easily visualize the story while reading.



We make plans, we download from that
super secret website, we draw diagrams,
or go on a weapons recon, and Mike just
get calmer.

Not me. I keep both my fists in my pockets
and nod. Otherwise my voice, my hands,
everything shakes.

Then I look at the list: everybody who
ever blew me off, flipped me off,
or pissed me off.

So I shake a little. It'll be worth it.

Introducing the Poem:

I would use the above excerpt to open a discussion about violence to teenage readers. I would want the students to further evaulate and discuss what they feel the excerpt meant to them, i.e. what do they think is happening or going to happen.

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