Book Review: Leave This Song Behind (Teen Poetry at Its Best) by John Meyer, et al.

26702564Title: Leave This Song Behind
Author: John Meyer, et al.
Publisher: HCI
Pub Date: April 26, 2016
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 216
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): Young Adult, Poetry, Anthology
Rating: ★★★½
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s been 10 years since the last book in the Teen Ink series Written in the Dirt was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. Leave This Song Behind features the best poetry submitted by those writers to Teen Ink over the last five years. The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. Teen Ink editors took a deep look into each poem’s strengths then divided Leave This Song Behind into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.

Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!

My review:

“Don’t fall in love with a girl who reads because she’ll fall in love with last chapters and final words and the ending will always be her favourite part.”

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Leave This Song Behind is a carefully curated collection of some of Teen Ink’s best poetry submissions over the years. The submissions are categorized under common themes, senses, and emotions, but there is still a variety of voices and tones in each category. While the variety was nice, it does come across as a little bit choppy if you’re the type of person who likes to read through an entire book in one sitting. Regardless, I really love how each section has so much to offer.

Some of these poems were so poignant and full of experience that I kept forgetting they were written by teenagers. But I shouldn’t be surprised. Adolescent voices have always been strong, just never listened to. I can’t help but wonder if my poetry was this good when I was 17-years-old. Probably not.

There were several submissions that stood out to me, but my favourites were The Sistine Closet by Moria Crowley, and Don’t Fall in Love by Beatrice Waterhouse.

Here are a few lines from The Sistine Closet that really hit me:

Dear Michelangelo,
When I can’t sleep at night I wonder where you are now.
I wonder if heaven exists.
I wonder if God was waiting for you at the gates, 
If he looked at you and said
“Don’t listen to them. Of course you can come in. Of course you can come out now.”
Michelangelo, tell me there are no closets in heaven.
Tell me I will be allowed to walk down the street
Holding her hand.

All in all, this is a wonderful collection of teen poetry. I wish I could have read something like this when I was younger, so I could have known that others my age felt as strongly as I did.

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