Bend, Don't Shatter

Title: Bend, Don't Shatter
Author: (Edited by) T. Cole RAchel & Rita D. Costello
Pub Date: 2004
Pages: 110
Genre: GLBT, Poetry

Bend, Don't Shatter is a collection of GLBT poetry written by adolescents (most of the poets are much older now). It's an honest portrayal of struggle. Struggle to find oneself, struggle to fit in, struggle to love.

I'm not a huge poetry fan to begin with.* In fact, I can count on one hand how many poetry books I've read in the past couple of years. But this collection just drew me in as I was looking for books to check out for Amanda's challenge.

I knew that I lucked out when I opened the page, "A Note from the Editors":

We tried to include in this book poems which show that everyone deals with this confusion - those that bully and those who are bullied, those that do well in school and those that fail, those that come from perfect homes and those who come from places not so perfect - and there is no reason to crumble under the pressure. The more comfortable you are with the uncertainty of growing up, the stronger you will be. Let the experiences - happy or terrible - make you who you are, not crush you under their weight.
Don't you just love that last line? I think that safe to say about Life in general - adolescence or not!
I don't really want to write a review of this book; I feel that poetry is too revealing of the person's soul to critique it. Instead, I would rather share a poem.

The Girl in the Boy's Dressing Room by Jody Helfand

When my grandmother and I shopped for clothes
we went to the boy's section and looked through
racks of dress shirts and ties, until a salesman
came over and told us where the girl's department was.
I let my grandmother handle this:
Young man, she would say, my granddaughter
feels comfortable wearing boy's clothing.
Will you please help us find her size?
Then, arms filled with clothes, I went to
the boy's dressing room as my grandmother
kept searching for other styles that would fit me.
As she did this, I was aware of the salesman
standing outside my dressing room, switching from
one foot to the other, describing pretty dresses-
trying to take the girl out of the boy's dressing room.

* I have decided it's not that I dislike poetry, but I would rather read it with others, rather than silently to myself.


  1. This sounds fascinating. You should link to it on the challenge reviews post so others can see it. I know people are always looking for ideas and this sounds like a good one for them.


Talk to me!