Paul B. Janeczko. Blushing: Expressions of Love in Poems and Letters. Orchard, 2004. ISBN 978-0439530569 112 pp. $
This beautiful collection of love poems and letters is artfully arranged and perfectly chosen by poet Paul Janeczko, appropriate for Valentine’s Day or year round. As best poetry is universal, the variety of authors included demonstrates that love is indeed the same for queer, straight, black, white, old, young, in the past and in the present.
The acknowledgments are meticulous and the introduction invites readers to return to this collection of classic and contemporary works in the various stages of their relationships. Ranging from first glimpse and the newness of love to seasoned passion to the breakup and beyond, romantic words by Shelley, Keats, Bradstreet, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Rumi, Neruda, St. Vincent Millay and more express the experience and emotions love inspires. If high school teachers used this as a basic text for their April poetry units, teens might get more excited about poetry and adult readers of literature might not be on the decline.
Clever black and white photos of prelude each chapter, showing young people taking a plunge, smooching and moping. The script and pink cover screams “girl book!” and it is a shame that romantically inclined young men may miss out on this gem. Recommended for public and school library collections.