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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice

A Guide to Writing Poetry and Speaking Your Truth

by Patrice Vecchione

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Myshouting_galleyfrontcover2020

Ever had an emotion or experience you wanted to express, but didn't know how? This guide encourages teens to find their voices, step up and speak their truths, and articulate what matters to them most--both personally and politically--whether it be boldly to an outside audience or just privately for themselves.

Young adults are reading and writing and performing poetry more than ever before, and yet it's the most difficult form for schools to teach. Written in short, easy-to-digest chapters, My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice includes prompts and inspiration, writing suggestions and instruction, brief interviews with some current popular poets such as Kim Addonizio, Safia Elhillo, and others, and poem excerpts scattered throughout the book. 

My Shouting, Shattered Whispering Voice offers ways to express rage, frustration, joy, and sorrow, and to substitute apathy with creativity, usurp fear with daring, counteract anxiety with the joy of writing one word down and then another to express vital, but previously unarticulated, thoughts. Most importantly, here you can discover the value of your own voice and come to believe that what you have to say matters.

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Myshouting_galleyfrontcover2020

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“Patrice Vecchione’s My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice is a light on the path of poetry. Written for everyone including beginners and teachers of poetry, this volume speaks back to institutions of power that hold verse captive in its ivory tower. Readers are admonished to resist and survive. The way is demystified by the deft, nurturing, precise voice in its pages. Vecchione’s thoughtful development of craft, close readings, and writing exercises, chart and distill the possibilities that writing poetry offers to its readers.”

“Patrice Vecchione’s My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice is more than a guide to writing poetry. It is an act of generosity and empathy, a helping hand to anyone who dreams of telling their truth through words on a page. Vecchione offers inspiration, wisdom and down-to-earth advice, covering everything from writer’s block to adjectives and stanzas. My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice is an invaluable resource, a book that honors and fosters what Adrienne Rich called “the necessity of poetry."”

“As both a published poet and a teacher of high school English, I am beyond thrilled with this book! In particular, [My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice] mirrors (and does an even better job than) all of the information I've spent years curating from various sources to provide support and inspiration for my students to push themselves creatively.”

“A middle- to high school-grades primer on finding one's poetic voice.Seasoned poet and anthologist Vecchione here crafts a guide for would-be poets. Pitched toward teens inclined to pursue writing, Vecchione's book makes the argument for poetry from a romantic, personal perspective, describing how she came to be a writer as a way of coping with emotional turmoil at home and feelings of isolation at school. The empirical advice is divided into five sections, each consisting of easily digested short chapters covering both the why and how of creating verse. Excerpts from various poets demonstrate a range of poetic styles. The backmatter includes a brief bibliography and online platforms for listening to poetry and submitting work for publication. The author incorporates numerous inspirational quotations about writing from famous writers throughout, including Ursula K. LeGuin and Toni Morrison. Perhaps the work's strongest section is the one offering 25 provocative, creative prompts, such as being inspired by Pablo Neruda's question poems and writing unanswerable questions of one's own or writing a love poem without using the word "love." Vecchione also offers helpful pointers for editing one's work and knowing when to quash one's inner critic. While this volume contains much sound advice, it is more likely to be used by individual teen writers who wish to cultivate their poetry skills than to become a classroom staple. At once impassioned and practical poetic advice.

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Poet, nonfiction writer and teacher Patrice Vecchione has edited several highly acclaimed anthologies for young adults including Truth & Lies, which was named one of the best children's books by School Library Journal, Revenge & Forgiveness, and Faith & Doubt, named a best book of the year for young adults by the American Library Association. She's the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life and Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life, as well as two collections of poetry. For many years, Vecchione has taught poetry and creative writing to young people (often working with migrant children) through her program, "The Heart of the Word: Poetry and the Imagination." She is also a columnist for her local daily paper, The Monterey Herald, and has published essays on children and poetry for several outlets including the California Library Association Journal. See more at patricevecchione.com.