Some "girls" may "just want to have fun," but a lot of teenage girls are more contemplative and articulate and poetic than the Go-Go's pop anthem might make them out to be. In her new collection of poetry written by teenage girls, Things I Have to Tell You, Betsy Franco has tapped into this amazing, creative, feminine energy. These girls certainly haven't "lost their voices," -- one of the common plights of teenage girls that Mary Pipher ("Pie - fur") called attention to in her landmark study of female adolescence, Reviving Ophelia. Quite the contrary: the girls in Things I Have to Tell You are struggling -- with body image, peer pressure, drugs, sexuality, the rush of conflicting feelings and the sudden recognitions that shake them to the core -- and they write about these subjects with breathtaking candor and supple strength. Here's Jessie Childress, 16, describing the "New Honesty" she's discovered:
Like a plastic ball,
And there is playful sense of humor, too, in a number of
these verses. One young writer wonders if her fate, the very course
of her life, would be different if she hadn't had a bad hair day and
the boy she was interested in turned away.
These are poignant, brave, generous-spirited poems. They are
also soul songs, that aspire to the highest possibilities for
poetry. As Jessie Childress writes in another poem:
Copyright © 2001 by John Cech
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Tuesday, 12-Jul-2005 14:54:43 EDT