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Earth-Shattering Poems

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Poetry helps us across the world's narrow bridges, but when we slip, it helps us not to be afraid. Here is a collection of some of the most intense poems ever written, to guide us, to lead us, to hold on to as we fall.

Poems are earth-shattering when, as Emily Dickinson put it, "I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off." Liz Rosenberg has selected poems of
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 15th 1998 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published 1998)
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Jul 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Though the poems are perhaps not quite as life-changing as the title would have you believe, I found this collection at the perfect time and it hit home.

My favourite is this poem from the meditations of Rabbi Nachman:

The whole world is a very narrow bridge
but the most important thing is not to be afraid at all.
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Didn't realize this is the same Rosenberg who wrote the novel Home Repair. Amazing little collection, though I think I like her Invisible Ladder even more, because I treasure those photos of the poets as adults and as kids. Galway Kinnell as a handsome teenager! Ginsberg as a long-legged kid! Rosenberg herself looking like a Salinger kid character.
 Barb Bailey
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2008, 5-star-books
I savored this book!
Jul 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Shelves: choice-books

1999 Riverbank Review Children's Book of Distinction Award


7th-10th Grade

This is a collection of 41 poets. The poems involve joy, love, sadness, anger. Every one includes some form of "earth shattering" understanding, hence the title of the collection. The poems capture, tear down, break your heart, and then build you back up again. It deals with real life issues that affect us all, like the roller coaster known as love.
This is a good example of young adult literature. I
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
It's difficult to "judge" a book of poetry. It's like judging painting or photography--everything is so subjective. Just because a poem might not resonate with me doesn't mean that it won't resonate with someone else.

But as the editor, Liz Rosenberg, admits, the poems included in her anthology were selected with a teen or young adult audience in mind. And that's apparent. A number of these poems were a bit too drastic for me, for lack of a better word. Quite a few gems, though--many of which I'd
Christina Rau
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This compilation makes sense. It is a great way to continue my self-education of poetry. This collection is aimed at a younger generation, most likely to continue the love of poetry for the future. Get Drunk! by Baudelaire doesn't seem kid-friendly. It is, however, Christina-friendly. Rock on, Baudelaire.

Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, poetry
Rosenberg has pulled together poetry from Sappho (620-550 B.C.) to Kate Schmidt (born in 1973 and still living) and also provided brief biographical sketches of the poets. She tried to find poems that speak to our “most intense experiences and emotions” and shake the reader. These speak to the intensity of adolescence.
Anne Bond
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I don't know that I'd call this collection of poems "earth-shattering" but I enjoyed it overall.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Selected poems---what poems should be--powerful and raw.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Okay, I admit it, I was hoping that this would include some geology references. This collection was intended for kids, but it starts with Sappho and moves forward. Very interesting little anthology.
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Liz Rosenberg is an American poet, novelist, children's book author, and book reviewer. She is currently a professor of English at Binghamton University.
More about Liz Rosenberg...