Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air

192p. S. & S./Atheneum. Feb. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534429536.
RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—In this stirring companion to her acclaimed memoir Enchanted Air, the Young People's Poet Laureate recounts the tumultuous late 60s and early 70s—a perfect parallel to her turbulent high school and college years. Using mostly free verse with smatterings of tanka and haiku, Engle shines a light on the uncertainty and restlessness of the time period—the Vietnam War; civil, women's, and labor rights movements; the rise of hippie and drug culture; and more—with raw, painful, but always poignant honesty. The peace-loving young woman often found herself at odds with her parents, boyfriends, fellow students, and institutions, but she never lost touch with her roots. No matter how much time passed, at her core, Cuba and her family are knit into the fabric of her identity. The author's evocative language, vivid imagery, and authentic portrayal will engage teens. Her bumpy and circuitous road filled with failures, homelessness, and eventual resolution and academic success will encourage young adults on their own paths.
VERDICT An unforgettable peek into an important and relevant time period brought into perspective by a masterly poet. A must-have for every collection.

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