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Leave This Song Behind: Teen Poetry at Its Best

Leave This Song Behind: Teen Poetry at Its Best

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Leave This Song Behind: Teen Poetry at Its Best

4.5/5 (3 ratings)
186 pages
1 hour
Apr 26, 2016


It's been 10 years since the last book in the Teen Ink series Written in the Dirt was published. Now, a whole new batch of teen writers has emerged with their own unique voices. Leave This Song Behind features the best poetry submitted by those writers to Teen Ink over the last five years.

The pieces in this book were chosen because they were so powerful that they stood out from the rest. Teen Ink editors took a deep look into each poem's strengths then divided Leave This Song Behind into seven sections based on the poetic techniques or qualities that moved them most. Vivid sensory details made some poems shine; others caught their attention with simple, sparse language. Still others were chosen because of their thoughtful use of form; compelling stories; strong figurative language; unexpected connections and wit; and fresh writing about familiar topics.

Dig in and let these brave young voices capture your heart and mind with their passion, their pain, and their amazing poetry!
Apr 26, 2016

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Leave This Song Behind - Adam Halwitz

For twenty-five years now and counting, Teen Ink has made it their mission to make sure the younger voices among us are heard in all their infinite energy and variety. In Leave This Song Behind, a rousing medley of hearts and minds range far and wide in coming to grips with the life of our times, happily reminding us why poetry remains one of the best of all possible ways for the up and coming to have their say. Compiled with eclectic zest and assembled under beguiling headings, this anthology keeps the juices flowing with infectious conviction. The editors have gone about their task with uncommon aplomb, and the avid teen bards have seized the day—making their presence felt in poems by turns buoyant, pensive, funny, funky, prickly, snappy, stirring, and all intensely alive.

—David Barber, Poetry Editor, The Atlantic; author of

two poetry collections, Wonder Cabinet and The Spirit Level

Using strong images to confront complicated issues, these poets are often perceptive beyond their years. Have no fear for the future of poetry, as long as young people like these continue to write, and places like Teen Ink continue to make their voices heard.

—Madeleine Fuchs Holzer, Educator-in-Residence,

Academy of American Poets

Leave This Song Behind is a robust, exceptional collection of diverse young people stretching, playing with, and recrafting the genre in a refreshing, compelling way. The contents of the anthology—arranged invitingly and using teen-friendly language—welcome multiple rereadings. Additionally, the remarkable quality of the poems is an important reminder that these poems can serve as apt mentor texts for teachers and other young poets in search of reading and savoring this body of mature, talented, quality literature. Most important, this anthology energizes young people to try their hand at writing poetry, too.

—Kimberly N. Parker, PhD, President,

New England Association of Teachers of English

It’s difficult to believe that teens wrote these astounding poems, but given the vibrant, youthful voices on display, who else could have written them? Leave This Song Behind is more than just a collection. It’s a celebration.

—J. A. White, award-winning writer of The Thickety series

As young as these poets are, they know that the poem is an act of paying careful meditative attention to the smallest detail. These poems probe the most difficult situations with clarity, honesty, and wit. They reveal themselves to us through the images of the authors’ lives, and they fill me with hope and optimism about a future of literacy and imagination.

—Sheryl Noethe, Montana State Poet Laureate Emeritus,

Founding and Artistic Director of the Missoula Writing Collaborative

Teen Ink was very important and formative for me growing up. It wasn’t just a place to see and read great art; Teen Ink helped me feel like I belonged.

—Ziggy Unzicker, winner of the 2013 Juneau

Grand Poetry Slam; contributor

Teen writers, if they are acknowledged, are often cited as being the voices of the future. But this anthology is not important because it showcases the voices of tomorrow—it is important because it contains the voices of today. Right now, teenagers have things to say about art, religion, sex, happiness, and so much more—and right now, if you care about these things, you’ll listen.

—Anna Leader, winner of the National Poetry Prize for Youth in Luxembourg and the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation


teen poetry at its best


Edited by Stephanie H. Meyer, John Meyer,

Adam Halwitz, and Cindy W. Spertner

Health Communications, Inc.

Deerfield Beach, Florida

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

is available through the Library of Congress

© 2016 The Young Authors Foundation, Inc., d/b/a Teen InkTM

ISBN-13: 978-07573-1896-2 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 07573-1896-7 (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 978-07573-1897-9 (ePub)

ISBN-10: 07573-1897-5 (ePub)

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of Amer­ica. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo­copying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher.

HCI, its logos, and marks are trademarks of Health Communications, Inc.

Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.

3201 S.W. 15th Street

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442–8190

Cover design by Sherri Hamilton

Cover art by Callie Fink

Interior design and formatting by Sherri Hamilton

ePub created by Dawn Von Strolley Grove

We dedicate this book to our three amazing grandsons—

Orson, Tommy, and Matty—

as well as our longtime supporter, Barbara Field.

Stephanie and John Meyer




Foreword by Todd Strasser


Come to Your Senses

Clothesline • Ariel Miller

Bluebells • Indigo Erlenborn

She • Charles C. Siler

More Summer • Claire Weaver-Zeman

Year of the Dragon • Miriam Himelstein

thoughts? • Lauren Combs

And She Sang as the Chicken Crisped Up • Daniel Coelho

Fighting the Waves • Natalie Baddour

inverted biography • Julie Yue

I Would Like To • Garrett Hinck

Dandelions • Emma Foley


Less Is More

I’ll massage your tense shoulders • Chelsea McCoyle

Welcome Back, Darling • Miranda McClellan

Write What You Know • Mandy Seiner

my grandmother’s kitchen • Catherine Malcynsky

Heirloom • Olivia Manno

Like Your Cat • Darius Kay

Souls Are Not Scientific • Anna Piper

Powder Blue with Roses • Christina M. Gaudino

Charcoal Boat • Callie Zimmerman

A Letter to the Past, Present, and Future Selves • Sofia Wesley

a preposterous poetical proverb for practical people • Meredith Thomas

Not Enough • Rachel Hsu

After All This Time • Christal E. Walker


Get into Shape

orange hospital bracelet • Sophia Shelton

serena • Alana Solin

O, Father Time • Jessica Covil

chinese politics (over dim sum) • Eda Tse

Genevieve Carnell • Moria Crowley

The Sistine Closet • Hannah Livernois

To a friend, in answer to his existential crisis • Ilana Feldman

Another Poem About You and the Sink in Your Downstairs Bathroom • Angela Sabo

Dear Me, From Me • Sam Little

blue base • Kristian Rivera

With Every Atom of My Being • Michal Zweig

It’s My Job • Katie Grey Lewellen

The Second Coming • Alana Solin

Sincerely, Perspective • Samantha Park


Let Me Tell You a Story

Anonymous, Framed • Kunal A. Sangani

bread for my soul • aiden gamble

Smelling Crayolas • Sofia Engelman

First Law of Motion • Isabel DeBré

to sophia • Emma Burn

Reading at the Lake • Beatrice Waterhouse

Prometheus • Eden Hartley

Clementines • Ayah Alghanem

Walk-out • Isabel Gwara

Grams and Tonic • Tia Roberson

impatient • Kalina Zhong


Shall I

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What people think about Leave This Song Behind

3 ratings / 1 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    First of all, thanks to NetGalley and TeenInk for giving me a chance to read and review this book!

    Leave This Song Behind is a collection of absolutely beautiful and meaningful poems!

    The fact that all of the poems are written by teenagers only adds to its charms.

    I enjoyed all of the poems. They were deep, meaningful and absolutely beautiful.

    Though I did enjoy them all, some of them became my favorites. 'Year Of The Dragon by Miriam Himelstein', 'A Letter to the Past, Present and Future Selves by Sofia Wesley', were some of my favorites while 'The Sistine Closet by Hannah Livernois' was my absolute favorite!

    Though at times I spotted some punctuation mistakes and the page formatting was a bit confusing, the poems were absolutely beautiful and I loved them all!