How I Discovered Poetry and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$14.21
Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.99
  • Save: $3.78 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
How I Discovered Poetry has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

How I Discovered Poetry Hardcover – January 14, 2014


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$14.21
$7.75 $5.18

Public School Superhero
Featuring more than 150 pieces of line art and comic-style sequences, James Patterson's newest illustrated novel is a genuinely funny yet poignant look at middle school in a challenging urban setting, where a kid's life can depend on the everyday decisions he makes. See more featured books about boys and men for 9 - 12 year-olds
$14.21 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

How I Discovered Poetry + Under the Egg
Price for both: $27.80

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up—Nelson traces her childhood and developing awareness of civil rights issues in this eloquent collection of 50 unrhymed sonnets. In 1950, her father, one of the first African American Air Force officers, is recalled to duty, launching the family on the first of several cross-country moves. Her father takes a leave from law school, her mother takes leave from teaching, and: "Our leaves become feathers. With wings we wave good-bye to our cousins." Their travels take them from Cleveland to Texas, Colorado, Kansas, California, Maine, and Oklahoma; the leave-takings are always painful. In "Traveling Light," she muses over the family dogs (Pudgy, Lady, and General) left behind. "Daddy explains. We've been transferred again. We stand numb as he gives away our toys." Close family ties help them confront the small-mindedness and racism encountered along the way. In "Bad Name," she observes: "TV is black-and-white, but people aren't. There's a bad name mean people might call you, but words aren't sticks and stones." Books, television shows, and friends provide a respite from the menace of the Cold War. Through snatches of grown-up conversation, she learns of Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, and Little Rock. She overcomes school yard bullies, wonders about boys, and is humiliated by a teacher who makes her read aloud a racist poem: "She smiled harder and harder until I stood and opened my mouth to banjo-playing darkies…." This hurtful episode only underscores the awesome power of words and leads Nelson to wonder whether "there's a poet behind my face." Altogether, Nelson's poems offer a candid portrait of her formative years as well as a triumphant message, which will resonate with readers, young and old, who cherish and recognize the power of words and stories.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

From Booklist

In this fictionalized memoir in verse, renowned poet Nelson lyrically recounts her passage from ages 4 to 14, from numerous military base homes; through friends, schools, and dogs; and from developmental stages of initiative through industry to identity. Chronicling the decade of 1950s America, a young self-aware speaker connects national events to daily life experiences. In the author’s note of her self-ascribed “portrait of an artist as a young American Negro girl,” Nelson disclaims that the “I” in the title is she. Rather, her autobiographically inspired collection of 50 nonrhyming sonnets is enhanced by research and imagination. The title poem comes near the end and is breathtaking in the perverse cruelty the young speaker experiences from an educator. Hooper’s line-and-shade illustrations, along with Nelson’s family photos, set a quiet and respectful tone and offer readers the feeling of taking an unsolicited peek behind a heavy curtain. For fans of Nelson’s impressive body of children’s and adult poetry, including the brilliant A Wreath for Emmett Till (2005), this insight into her modulated memories gratifies that heartfelt belief that here writes a woman of great substance. Grades 7-12. --Gail Bush
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Children's Easter Books
Visit the Children's Easter Bookstore to find sweet stories to enjoy with family and friends.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733046
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
78%
4 star
11%
3 star
11%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 9 customer reviews
Humor is present here along with the serious matters.
Crystal
I heard the author read from the book at the Furious Flower Poetry Conference a week ago and made a little YouTube if other viewers want to see it.
Shirley H. Showalter
An absolutely lovely book to share with older children and teens, or for adults to enjoy by themselves.
Susan Golden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IJW on March 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marilyn Nelson's poems charmingly evoke her younger self, exploring the wonders of poetry while experiencing life as a girl before and during the Civil Rights era. Her masterful use of language shines through, even as she describes the plainest pleasures of life in maritime Maine, and her dawning realizations of American injustice, black culture, family life, and poetry as a transformative force.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Crystal on April 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Review Copy: Purchased

Reading How I Discovered Poetry is like looking through a photo album with a loved one while they share memories. Here a laugh, there a tear, sometimes even an admission of mischievousness. Marilyn Nelson has crafted fifty sonnets that begin with the simplicity of a pre-schooler and progress to the complexity of the early teen years. Each sonnet is a snapshot of family life, but many also give glimpses of the cultural changes that were occurring in the wider world.

What I loved was the voice that truly seemed to mature. I could just see a young child asking,

“Why did Lot have to take his wife and flea
from the bad city like the angel said?”

She is truly puzzled about that flea as she sits there in church. She has many such misunderstandings as she grows up. Over time, they become less about vocabulary issues and more about the deeper questioning she is doing concerning the world and her place in it. As she learns, grows and experiences life, the sonnets show her increasing sense of self. She begins to find her voice – the voice of a poet.

There are so many ways that readers can connect to this book. Nelson throws the door open so we can see into the life of a military family on the move. There are sibling and family interactions that I know I could sympathize with as an older sister. She includes civil rights issues and instances of prejudice. With so many brief moments of time highlighted, there are many opportunities for readers to see echoes of their own life.

As a military family, they move all over the country. In most of the places they are stationed, they are the first or only Negro family. This makes for a lot of what she calls “First Negro” moments.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By A. Maurer on October 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a short book of poetry, however loaded with so many powerful verses. What I value in quality poetry is that it is not the words that are written but the empty spaces that fill your brain with thought, ideas, and questions. Marilyn Nelson writes through the voice of a kid growing up during Civil Rights. I am amazed by how adults can speak a genuine voice of adolescence.

These are poems that need to be read slowly so that the reader can process the time period, the emotions, and how kids see the world. Through their eyes that are naive the world of serious conflict does not seem so massive, but still influential.

Reading this book has reignited by passion for reading other poetry. This would also be a great addition to a classroom that studies this time period.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These deceptively simple poems, from a young African-American girl trying to understand, and later, act upon, the world of America in the fifties and sixties, touched my heart. I love the poems, the pictures, the layout, and the depth under the simplicity. Well done, Marilyn Nelson! I heard the author read from the book at the Furious Flower Poetry Conference a week ago and made a little YouTube if other viewers want to see it. Just Google her name and mine, and it should show up.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane D on July 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful, moving work by one of our best poets.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
How I Discovered Poetry
This item: How I Discovered Poetry
Price: $17.99 $14.21
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?