It’s been 10 years since the last book in the Teen Ink series Written in the Dirt was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. Leave This Song Behind features the best poetry submitted by those writers to Teen Ink over the last five years.
The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. Teen Ink editors took a deep look into each poem’s strengths then divided Leave This Song Behind into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.
Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!
Product Details (Amazon):
- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (April 26, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0757318967
- ISBN-13: 978-0757318962
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
‘Leave This Song Behind’ is an inspired anthology containing at its heart an impressively diverse spectrum of poems. I’d go as far as to wager that there’s something in it for everyone.
For me ‘Write What You Know’ and ‘Fractions’ struck a chord. I could immediately identify with the poetic persona of ‘Write What You Know’ because I too have been struggling for the last year or so with my Pure Mathematics & Statistics class. To put it simply: Mathematics is not my strong suit. I’ve invested countless hours day in day out, week after week, and still flunked the class. As you can imagine the reaction from my academic supervisor and peers was all but understanding, as a result of which their image of me has diminished greatly.
Be that as it may, the academic year as a whole has been fulfilling. I’ve gained ground in debating, Model UN, as well as power point presentations to say nothing of how much I’ve improved in interpersonal relations. As a whole the poem sends the message ‘Stick to what you’re good at and don’t dwell on the things you can’t do’ which is advice that can be appreciated by people of all ages.
With this in mind, when one feels like the poetic persona of ‘Fractions’ that is to say “One third of a person” at 3 AM in the night, the positive mindset embodied within ‘Write What You Know’ can be of use.
In a word, it will be hard to “Leave This Song Behind” as it has had an impact on me that is rather difficult to put into words, but it is always a nice feeling to see the youth invigorated and given an opportunity to voice themselves.
The nature of the challenge is that I take this Haiku and continue it, respond with my own, or write a story which is relevant.
expressions of face
happy sad angry frown shy
face is the index
autumn leaf as hair
frozen winter snowman stare
sweet summer smile flare
My personality is little more than a bonsai tree
for a many a year I have waited patiently
to find the promised prospects that once awaited me
if only my will was wrought of steel
I could dare to feel
more than the four unyielding concrete walls
that drapes my thoughts like a pristine pall
A tour-de-force work by one of America’s most celebrated contemporary poets.
Frisbees, Johnny Cash, and lonely railroad crossings: All coexist with Zen Buddhism’s traditional imagery of cherry blossoms and mountain landscapes in Zen Master Poems. This collection of one-page readings, meditations, admonitions and observations evokes calm, reflection and humor for readers and seekers on every path.
Zen Master Poems is from Dick Allen, author of eight acclaimed poetry volumes — and the 2010-2015 Connecticut Poet Laureate. Allen gives full expression to his lifetime interest in Zen Buddhism for the first time here.
Although accessible for readers of all traditions, Zen Master Poems also contains elements that will challenge those already familiar with Buddhist literature. The poems are alternately serious and whimsical, seamlessly blending East with West.
Featuring titles like a “Cat Named Zen” and images like Jack Kerouac watching lightning strike, these lovely and mysterious poems are sure to stick with you. While it pays tribute to Han-Shan’s famous Cold Mountain Poems, the voice here is truly Allen’s own.
Product Details (Amazon):
- Series: New Wisdom Poems (Book 1)
- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Wisdom Publications (August 23, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 161429299X
- ISBN-13: 978-1614292999
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
First and foremost, the reader ought to take note of the ensō on the cover of the anthology. In Zen Buddhism it represents the beauty of imperfection which can be conflated with the concept of wabi-sabi.
Equally important is “The obstacle is the path” which is a Zen proverb that potential readers may have come across. So for those that may at first be unsure of how to proceed with interpreting the Zen Master Poems, worry not, for the beauty of Zen lies in its simplicity which becomes clear when the mind stops forming overt connections between unconnected dots.
“Simply, Simply, Simply.”, Henry David Thoreau was known to say. Declutter your thoughts. Think not of yourself as a “bag of skin and bones”, or that you were “born into this world”, see yourself as an entity that is a reflection of its environment and in the words of Dick Allen a “beautiful disguise”. Allow this shift in mindset to take place and it is possible to live simply and think deeply.
With that being said, there are allusions in the poems which open the door to further exploration of the subject matter. For instance Alan Watts who remarked “Reality is a rorschach ink blot”, and a man known to spread eastern ideas to an western audience was mentioned in a poem.
Furthermore, Hanshan too was alluded to. Note that the master of the cold mountain himself said that Zen is not in the poems but in the mind.
“the ten thousand things are all reflections
the moon originally has no light”
In a way one particular poem “The Secret Is To Leap” reminded me of Keat’s ‘Negative Capability’ which is the key ingredient to success of many acclaimed poets. According to Keats: Negative Capability is the state of mind when man is capable of being in uncertainties, delving into mysteries, weighing doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
Zen teaches us to ask good questions, but it also extols the importance of realizing that it’s not about “because” but that it “just is”… that we should focus on the “what” rather than on the “why”…
Keeping all of this under close consideration, Dick Allen has done a phenomenal job of noting down his observations and turning them into food for thought for a mind starved of simplicity. Whether or not the reader will find the bird making calligraphy in the sky or Zen Master Kyong Ho’s “the tree with no shadow” remains yet to be seen, but not knowing something is what makes the act of discovery all the more fulfilling and that is to say nothing of the power of the idea that everything we require is rooted in the present and we need not wait any longer to partake in its splendor which may be simpler than it appears if the way of the zen cat is to be believed.
“Only a mediocre person is always at his best. ”
― W. Somerset Maugham
You don’t have to pay rent
to have more room for improvement
when others are hell bent
formulating how best to criticize
your tragic flaws and bring you down to size
do not resent
strive to be better
than you are at present
Fortius Quo Fidelius: Strength Through Loyalty.
This is the motto of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter Universe.
Do the Goblins in Gringotts grin?
one word is all you ask of me?
betrayal of trust is murder in the first degree
obituary of integrity
mute the sound,
Hearken to the ghost note of life!
The human Condition is our 8th wonder
A sudden silent saltus in a train of thought
Makes one ponder
About the seriocomic nature of what wisdom we are taught
Sophic Savants, Society does not listen to
Au contraire! It is they who listen to you
And are all the wiser for it
value the passer-by,
in public the secret treasures lay
waiting for the day
Gently gain ground…
unleash the senses of a blood hound!
I write to delight
To see the sights
from precarious heights
vicariously if I can
For I am not one man
My soul takes flight
In the dead of night
with deep rooted inertia holding on tight
above the cotton clouds there is no space for fright
only soporific moonlight
set sail midnight kite
away from the constraints of time
Poised on a plinth is a Hyacinth
Stained Periwinkle blue by a Lachrymose sun
bid farewell to a radiant land clad in a garland
of Forget-Me-Nots and Morning Glories
soon to become living legend, one recounted in Ovid’s stories
The tears of Apollo stained the newly formed flower’s petals with the sign of his grief when he lost his beloved partner Hyacinth who lost his life to an accident of Zephyrus’ design.