Monday, October 17, 2016

#45 [2016/CBR8] "Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls"

Since I had read The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul, Amazon recommended Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014) ed. by Karen Finneyfrock, Rachel McKibbens, and Mindy Nettifee. I don't know how advanced Amazon's software is for these kinds of recommendations, but it worked. I was intrigued and ordered the book from my library.

This book is very different from The Gutsy Girl, which is a story of Paul's adventures and encouragement for younger girls to get out there and do things. Courage, on the other hand, is a book of poetry, and both the content and reading comprehension levels are for older teenagers. I would say Paul's book is more for older grade school and middle school ages while the poetry is more for high school students. Short author bios are at the end of the book, and most authors contributed more than one poem to the book.

The poetry was split into sections regarding family, love, and other subjects, although I found the poems to be so diverse that many of them did not fit easily into one category. Many of them had to do with self worth and our cultural obsession with beauty. Like most poetry that I read, some poems were very moving and relatable, while others were not. I'm sure it depends a lot on your own experiences and what resonates with you.

I did try to imagine what I would have thought of this book if I had read it as a high school student instead of a 37-year-old woman. And I'm not sure. It has taken me a long time to be patient enough to read books of poetry. But if I could have gotten past that, I think many of the poems I find moving now, I would have understood and appreciated then.

I had to use interlibrary loan to get this book, as there were only one or two copies in the entire state. And when I received it, it looked brand new. I'm glad that this book of poetry is out there for young women to have something to use to understand their experiences. However, it's usefulness is limited by its limited readership. I can't imagine the tweens of today putting down Twilight (or whatever the new Twilight is these days) and picking up this book of poetry, but there have to be some young women out there who would appreciate it. And it stretches my imagination even further to think of teenage boys reading a book of poetry by and about women, but why not?

As always when I read a book of poetry, I write down all my favorite poems in case I ever find the book again or want to look up any of the authors. Below were my favorite poems from Courage.

The Last Spell of the Sea Witch by Karen Finneyfrock (31)
Private Parts by Sarah Kay (32)
That Thing I Said That During Gym Shaney Jean Maney(52)
December by Erica Miriam Fabri (71)
Swarm by Jeanann Verlee (73)
Remembering the Night We Met by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (80)
1943 by Jessica Helen Lopez (86)
13 by Patricia Smith (p. 94, sect. 8, 9, 10)
The Waiting Room of the GYN by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (100)
Aubade With a Broken Neck by Traci Brimhall (104)
Pretty by Shaney Jean Maney(128)
Bloom by Tara Hardy (141)
The Nutritionist by Andrea Gibson (154)

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