Dizzy In Your Eyes: Poems About Love
by Pat Mora
Mora, Pat. Dizzy In Your Eyes: Poems About Love. New York: Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers, 2010. Print.
Poetic Elements: This book is full of love, which might be a bit of a concern for certain young adults, especially if they feel like they have yet to be in love (of course, as someone that teaches middle school students, most of them believe to be in love!). The wonderful thing about this book of poetry is that it discusses many different kinds of love. It details the first love, when there is butterflies and nervousness. It deals with the love surrounding family, and difficult situations like divorce and loss. Even if students have not been in an actual relationship, there will be a scenario in which they are able to understand and relate to, which makes the book that much more powerful.
There is a fair amount of poetic elements that all come together to make this book even more enjoyable for the reader. Even as someone that does not typically enjoy poetry, I could appreciate the rhythm, figurative language, and imagery of the poems. The rhyme scheme shifted often throughout the pages, keeping the interest of the reader as the book continued. The imagery also helps add to the emotion the reader experiences as they are reading; this goes from nostalgic, to happy, to sad based on the specific reader and their past experiences.
Appeal: This book is a very suitable one for the middle school level, especially for students that are interested in poetry, or students that want to build this interest. The poems cover topics that most young adults can relate to, and even if they have not experienced those things themselves, they have seen them through movies or television shows. They have some sort of background knowledge to base their understanding on. Though the situations are familiar, many of them are written in a way that will expand the insight and views of the readers. They may even see a different side of a situation. Overall, the book also focused on qualities of Hispanic culture, which would be especially appealing to the students at my middle school.
Overall Quality: The overall quality of the poems in the book is pretty steady, but there is a lot more emotion and rhyme included in certain poems than in others. Some of the shorter poems are almost disappointing compared to others throughout the text, but it does seem beneficial to have the different pacing to push the story and book forward. The mix of topics and sensory detail adds a lot of texture to the story as well. While some poems are light and happy, others are darker and filled with sadness. It certainly sends the reader on an emotional roller coaster.
The Poets: This book consists of roughly fifty poems all written by Mora. They follow the story of a character as she goes through first love and loss, and everything in between. Having the same poet throughout the entirety of the novel adds a sense of comprehensiveness that I appreciate, especially when the emotions turn a bit more deep and dark.
Layout: In terms of layout, this book does have a lot to offer the reader. First of all, there is a table of contents at the beginning of the novel, which is beneficial, especially if the reader wants to focus on a specific poem within the book. The poems also vary in length, giving a good variation throughout the story. Another addition that is very helpful is how Mora has defined the different kinds of poetry throughout the book to give the reader more understanding of the form while reading the emotion. The only thing that I do not like about the layout is that the poems are separated by a page, even if they extend passed the space on a single page. Instead of being side-by-side, the page is designed, and you must turn the page to see the rest of the poem. As a reader, I found this to be a bit distracting as I continued through the poems.
"Mirrors" by Pat Mora
Grandma makes me mad.
"You're beautiful. Tan linda,"
when I'm studying my face,
boring as old bread,
my wide waist,
my hard-to-hide hips,
my too-flat chest,
my eyes that won't open wide
and round like my sister's,
that hypnotize guys.
What does grandma see?
When teaching this poem, one of the main things I would focus on is the figurative language. This is something that we have discussed at length in my middle school reading class, and my students still struggle with it. I would have them read through the poem and circle the things they believe are figurative language. Once they have found the examples, they will determine what kind of figurative language is being used. Finally, they will determine WHY the poet decided to use this figurative language, and how it adds to the tone of the poem.