Review Detail

Young Adult Nonfiction 557
Poems to Live Your Life By
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
POEMS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE BY is a collection in which each poem has been hand-picked by Chris Riddell, for a total of forty-six pieces of verse. In the introduction, Riddell says that he selected poems that have meant a great deal to him throughout his life, and then goes on to divide his choices into sections— “Musings,” “Youth,” “Family,” “Love,” “Imaginings,” “Nature,” “War,” and “Endings.” He has a poem for every season of life, and he features a wide array of writers, from William Shakespeare, to Lewis Carroll, to songstress Phoebe Bridgers.

Each poem is arranged on a page, or across several pages, and accompanied by beautiful drawings illustrated by Riddell himself. In fact, in all the poetry books I have ever read, the artwork in this one surpasses that of any other. The cover alone is absolutely gorgeous and alluring that it makes for a perfect coffee table or end table decoration. The cover also evokes feelings of whimsical fantasy, beauty, and imagination— all the same emotions a great poem can draw out.

It’s clear that Riddell reveres poetry and the place it can occupy in our lives, by virtue of his opening words and him doing this book in the first place. For that, I can respect this collection from a personal standpoint and perhaps, it could mean a lot to others as well. For me, however, the selected poems don’t resonate strongly. I really love a poem that can knock the air out of my lungs, but these poems fall short as they are fairly generic and overused in many other pieces. Perhaps, however, this book would be a good jumping off point for people who are beginning to dip their toe into reading verse.

With that being said, I’m always happy to see any publication that supports poetry. It’s such a beautiful form of emotional expression, and I hope that POEMS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE BY, besides being visually beautiful, is able to perpetuate a market for the art form.
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