Reviews for City of One : Young Writers Speak to the World


Booklist Reviews 2004 August #1
Gr. 7-12. This moving anthology of young people's poetry is published to commemorate the tenth anniversary of WritersCorps, a San Francisco-based youth writing program. Focusing on the themes of peace and violence, the poems, divided into six chapters, include perspectives from international young voices speaking about the horrors and hope in their own streets and abroad. The range of talent is astonishing, and even within the same poem, the young writers combine childish imagery with riveting, sophisticated metaphors: "Sadness is Cookie Monster / without a cookie . . . Love is white / it can be silent or loud," writes a 10-year-old. Throughout, the direct simplicity is powerful: "Who do you love in the pit of your heart? Whose father did you kill in the war?" asks a 13-year-old. Raging, fearful, and full of hope, these young, multicultural voices describe piercing experiences of war and peace that teachers and students will want to share. Program supporter Isabel Allende contributes an introduction. ((Reviewed August 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 August
Gr 8 Up-This anthology celebrates the 10th anniversary of WritersCorps workshops, which bring creative-writing instruction to low-income kids from public schools, youth detention centers, halfway houses, and after-school programs. More than 150 young people ranging in age from 9 to 23 write about their lives and the state of the world. There are angry poems as in "Dear Mr. Bush": "-Dear Mr. Bush why can you go to war and not go/To prison yet we get 25 to life for killing each other/On the streets?" Desperate poems also appear, as in "Home": "My home is filled wit crack rocks and dope spots./My home is constantly invaded/by crooked cops whose purpose is to send my/people to jail instead of helpin' them." Reflective poems include "Deep Inside": "The best place I ever was is in my mind/-It's a place of peace and tranquility/where I take time to grow." Poems about family, freedom, inner peace, self-identity, and the writing process round out this remarkable anthology. Above all, these poems are about adolescence; the seething emotions as well as the incredible hope for the future are present.-Sonja Cole, Briarcliff Middle School, Mountain Lakes, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2004 October
For years, WritersCorps has been dedicated to providing quality books of poetry with voices of youth at the center. The tradition continues here with more than two hundred poems written by youth from age seven to twenty-three. The poems are divided into six sections-In the Worry of the World; Under Fire; Our Words Are Universal; My People; Hope Waits, Like Us; and Ours Poetica-with a quote from one of the poems to introduce each section. The foreword by Isabel Allende warns that the poets speak volumes about social conditions in our society. The structure of each poem varies, from haiku to free verse and other poetry forms. The mood changes from section to section. For example, a number of the poems from the In the Worry of the World section are filled with despair and melancholy. But the majority of the poems in Our Words Are Universal appear reflective yet celebratory. Other sections include poems about ambitions, holidays, culture, ancestors, and more. The final section offers vivid metaphors for poetry and an overall appreciation and respect for the written word. One poet writes, "Poetry is the story of the soul / vivid pictures / that pulse through our minds," whereas another writer suggests, "A poem is Native Americans dancing. Despite the many topics covered, peace and social action are at the core of each section. The topics and themes will resonate with most young adults. This book would be a great addition to public, school, and classroom libraries.-KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson 3Q 4P M J S Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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