Blue Lipstick left me tickled pink!

Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits; published by Clarion Books, New York, 2007; 48 pages.

Jessie is wise, innovative, sarcastic, reflective and funny.  She is also a teenager.  What a treat to explore the mind of a teenage girl through concrete poetry (I learned it as “shape poetry”—the words are typed or written into a shape which helps express the theme of the poem).  For example, in “Bad Hair Day,” the lines of the poem sprout from the top of a line art head in crazy, skewed lines.  Another fun example is “The Secret;” a trail of he-saids-and-she-saids leads from one circled name to the next, all the while portraying the drama and damage of sharing a secret.  By the end of the book, I had a hard time remembering that “Jessie” is actually a he, poet John Grandits.

I was delighted by this collection.  It took me back to the spiral notebooks of my junior high years, with poems scrawled in the margins or taking up entire pages (and class periods).  I imagine this book would be gobbled up by middle school and early high school aged girls who are doing a little creative writing of their own.  For those who aren’t already writing, perhaps this will inspire them!  After reading Blue Lipstick, I was inspired to read Technically, It’s Not My Fault, a collection of concrete poems which was published before this one and is from Jessie’s brother’s point of view.  Combined, I imagine a middle school librarian using these books in April for a lesson in poetry and an introduction to Dewey’s 811’s.

blue_lipstick4P     5Q     Grades 6-9

Cover Art: The use of a concrete poem format with reflective silver, black, magenta and blue is ingenious—all girls will be attracted to this book by its cover alone and then will fall in love with the poetry.

From Reading List:  It Doesn’t Always Have to Rhyme (Verse)


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