Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love, by Pat Mora (ages 12 - 16)

Valentine's Day is approaching, and I love sprinkling poetry about during this time of year. A lovely collection is Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love, by Pat Mora. She captures a wide range of emotions that young teens experience, some intense, some flirty, some touching - all real. It's very accessible, and even young teens who don't love poetry will find something they can connect to in this collection.
Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about LoveDizzy in Your Eyes:
Poems About Love

by Pat Mora
NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
ages 12 - 16
available on Amazon and at your local library
Pat Mora began this collection of poems, prompted by a librarian who asked her for poetry that really spoke to teens about love. Mora began by writing free verse poems, but then began experimenting with other more structured verse forms as well. The result is a lovely collection with a little something for everyone. Mora explores the glow of a first love, the deep love a daughter has for her father, the special connection a young teen has with his or her cat. I was particularly taken by her use of imagery scattered throughout. My favorite poem in the collection is "Mariachi Fantasy". I'm hoping you can see it here on Google Books:

The image of the tall cactus, standing proud like a mariachi with his head thrown back really struck me, rooted in a clear image, place and culture. Mora uses Spanish words and images throughout many poems, to wonderful effect.

An interesting aspect of the book is that Mora continually shifts the point of view and voice of each poem. Sometimes, you're hearing from a young boy, other times a girl. Sometimes it's someone who has a crush on someone, other times it's someone who's just been dumped. This makes the collection better for dipping and diving, finding what speaks to you, rather than reading from beginning to end.

Cool SalsaPat Mora has written widely for children, from picture books to poetry for teens. She has a fantastic website to explore at, with activities for teachers and young readers. She also writes a blog Bookjoy! with interviews with writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians, plus ideas to celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children's Day/Book Day.

Dizzy in Your Eyes reminds me of a poetry anthology I loved for its bilingual poems: Cool Salsa, edited by Lori Carlson.

I'd like to thank Pam at MotherReader for sending me her copy of Dizzy in Your Eyes. Pam, I'm sorry it took me so long to review it! To answer your question from last year, I think that the design can work well for this collection. It seems very browsable to me and the teens I checked with.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!

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