Although Amber Tamblyn is best known as the star of the smash hit Joan of Arcadia, she is a serious poet, mentored by Jack Hirshman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and other San Francisco Beat poets. She has self-published two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in books published by City Lights. Here is her first collection of poems specifically for teens. The poems relate to teen issues such as love and relationships, and all are influenced by Amber's feminist sensibility. An introduction by Jack Hirshman puts her poetry in a literary context, and her personal introduction gives insight into her poems and helps readers access them. Amber's celebrity will help bring the value of poetry to a new, wider audience.
Fans of actress Tamblyn (Joan of Arcadia; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), who has earned kudos for being a regular-girl role model, may want to check out this collection of 31 poems, which reveals layers of her off-screen personality. As noted by the author, some of the works here were written when Tamblyn was as young as 12, but as a whole, they hint at the pain, doubt, vital energy and growing confidence of one girl living through adolescence in the author's words, "a teenage timeline of sorts." A strong feminist vibe runs through the selections, which explore distorted expectations of body image, a woman's right to choose, and being treated with respect by a boyfriend (as well as enjoying a guy's affection). The specific imagery may puzzle some readers ("Die! Die! We all cry/ with our stubborn cannons blowing off,/ and our noses like dead poodles, arriving on a nightmare" or "Her weathered eyes are cluster-fucks of confusing/ road maps"), but the various emotions ranging from dark or angry to wistful or resolute behind these word pictures are recognizable. Though the foreword by poet Jack Hirschman and Tamblyn's return praise for him are a bit over the top, Tamblyn's introduction of herself and her work proves encouraging not only to those who appreciate poetry but also to readers going through similar life experiences. Ages 14-up.