Friday, February 18, 2011


There are books that should never go out of print. Well, there are many books that should last a lifetime.

Last night I was browsing my library and discovered that we now have a Young Adult Poetry Section (811) shelved next to Young Adult fiction.  As I was savoring all the YA poetry titles I spied FLETCHER on a slim binding.  BURIED ALIVE, THE ELEMENTS OF LOVE (Athenuem Books for Young Readers, 1996)--- I thought I knew most of my clients' books, books they wrote before I signed them, and most times before I started agenting. But there it was and I consumed it like melting chocolate.


Your ancestors were farmers
from the potato field of Ireland:

"When Grandpa came to America
the dirt under his nails was
all the land he owned."

This summer
behind a weathered barn
I pick raspberries with you

tiny torpedoes of pleasure

that's what you said the moment before you
pressed your lips down
onto mine.
   © Ralph Fletcher

I have chills.

Falling in love, betrayal, jealousy, yearning, all of the emotions...the elements of love permeate BURIED ALIVE's pages. But being that we just celebrated Valentine's Day, I leave you with one last love poem:

The River of Your Breathing

I have never slept with anyone
not how those words are meant

only the time you sleep beside me
at the beach in the broad daylight
eyes closed your face goes slack
I close my eyes and drift away
on the river of your breathing

hear the rhythm of its currents
the places where it quickens
or runs suddenly shallow or
falls off to cool deep waters

a soft steady sluicing stream
I'd love to learn to navigate
       © Ralph Fletcher

Hold on, I have to go find my husband and kiss him RIGHT NOW! But at the same time I am reliving my first love, sensing all of the heat, the intensity that Ralph has released from the depths of my memory....not simply the memories but the feelings, the power, the tenderness, the need.

Thank you, Ralph, for giving me back a little of myself and for giving young adults reassurance that  their feelings are important, universal, and necessary.

There are books that should never go out of print. That should last a lifetime.


  1. You sold me. I'd love to get this book, and I followed the link to Pyrotechnics on the Page, which also looks tempting. Thanks for introducing me to his work.

  2. I have a copy of his I AM WINGS: POEMS ABOUT LOVE book. I use it with my high school poetry students. They love him. In fact, I use eight (maybe nine??) of his books throughout the school year. :-)

  3. Tiny torpedoes of pleasure.
    What a perfect description of raspberries!
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for sharing these, Jill. They were lovely. My household is a fan of his A WRITING KIND OF DAY.

  5. Did your copy of I Am Wings arrive yet? I just know you'll love it! :-)

  6. I feel this way about ALL of Ralph's poetry books. He is one of my all time favorites!



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