Reviewed by Georgia Richardson
I’m scared of poetry. It reveals too much. It can touch my very core just when I’ve managed to be alone with my own thoughts, mostly hidden, some displayed. In Galloping Words, Poet Laureate Meredith Laskow will not allow the reader to hide behind forgotten emotions or past hurts. Not even past joys! Her words speak of freedom, then darkness; dreams, then isolation. I found myself in nearly every page. On page 28 in Treasure, she writes...
If we are the end product of our memories and experiences,
And if some of these experiences have been so long forgotten,
Does my life change now for rediscovering them?
As I told Ms Laskow after viewing her work, (I refuse to call it a “review”) I would say to anyone purchasing this book to stand back...admire it...read it multiple times, as many as you wish but don't do anything else. Don't review it, don't mutilate or harm it in any way by placing useless words around it. Just bask in it. That's what it's there for. For basking, reading, reflecting. I stand by this declaration as I place her book back on the shelf until the next time. There could never be just once.
Such a moving and powerful book at 40 pages, and amazingly, with the original cover art by the poet herself, at age 13.
Georgia Richardson, aka Queen Jawjaw, is a nationally syndicated humor columnist and author of the book, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Throne." Her website, complete with funny stories, can be found at http://www.queenjawjaw.com/
Cool Kids Ain’t Us
Reviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos
Poetry is one of those art forms that can seem so easy, but rarely is. But once you read Meredith Karen Laskow's Cool Kids Ain't Us, you'll be convinced she could write free verse in her sleep.
Emotionally honest, this collection of poems follows the life of a young girl from the age of 15 to age 22. It starts off with a poem titled On Being Left Out, which I read with tears in my eyes. How did this poet know exactly how I felt during those years of my life? Did she gaze into my soul to see the pain I suffered? Her words touched upon emotions I hid from my peers.
Boy on the Beach tells the story of a chance meeting between this young girl and a handsome boy on the beach. It explores the choices we make and the impact they have on our lives in a touching way that seems too sophisticated for one so young. But then, life has made this young woman wise beyond her years.God and the Bible are mentioned in several of the poems in this collection, but their use is unique and allows the readers to catch a glimpse into how this young girl views her world. My God speaks of how at the age of fifteen she gave herself body, mind, and soul to her God and how she cannot understand why people do not see him the way she does. But it is who her God is, that makes the reader appreciate her predicament even more.
Genesis/Exodus brings about an epiphany to the young girl as she realizes certain truths about the world and the importance of needing to change with the world, but not lose herself.
Cool Kids Ain't Us is packed with emotions that will relate to many young adults who struggle with the same things now, that this young girl did many years ago. I believe it is also an amazing read for parents who may be searching for ways to remember what it was like for them or their peers during those challenging years when so much change takes place--when young people are seeking independence, but still need the acceptance of their peers and parents to be truly happy.
The most astonishing part of this poetry collection for me was when I found out that Laskow left these poems in their original forms from when she wrote them as a young adult and that the cover art for this book is also her original artwork from 1963.
Cool Kids Ain't Us by Meredith Laskow has a voice that will resonate with young adults today, tomorrow, and in the future. From teenage pregnancy to drug use, from loneliness to heartache, from the pain of dealing with a less than perfect world to finding your place in it, this poetry collection draws the reader in with its symbolism and substance.
Buy it for your kids or buy it for yourself...but make sure you buy it!
Cheryl Malandrinos is a staff member of Writer2Writer, where she contributes articles on time management and other topics. She is also the author of the several blogs including The Book Connection where this review first appeared.