The Body Eclectic

An Anthology of Poems

Henry Holt
2002 | ISBN
0-8050-6935-6
The Body Eclectic

What does it mean to live in your body? Are you at home there? Or is it your cage? These are questions that have interested poets and writers across the centuries and around the globe. A gathering of poetry and prose from different eras and cultures, The Body Eclectic reveals the many aspects of life in a human body. Drawing on poems both serious and silly and on writers from Virginia Woolf to Sherman Alexie, this unique collection looks at what our bodies are, what they are not, how we love them and taunt them, what they give us and what they take away.

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Reviews

“This rich global anthology celebrates the human body…. A great collection to show teens that literature is about their intimate selves and their connections with people everywhere.”
—BOOKLIST, STARRED REVIEW AND NAMED ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS

“The hook will lure them in; the poetry will make them stay.” 
—KIRKUS REVIEWS

“The Body Eclectic has been published for a teen audience but is in no way a careful, mincing book for juveniles. This is, quite simply, an inspiring collection of writing about the human body and how we live in it, mind alive, emotions engaged, sometimes grateful, sometimes appalled…. A marvelous gift to any human being, The Body Eclectic shines in its acknowledgement that teenagers live in bodies with the same joys, tragedies, and confusions as the rest of us—in spades!” 
—RIVERBANK REVIEW

Read an Excerpt

Height

Like bamboo
I only look fragile
bend,
but do not break
sway dangerously close to
the ground in painful angles
do not break
stand straight
stretch high
face close to the sun
this time
do not break
do not merely bounce back
bend
low
and not always graceful
but taller
always taller
when I choose to stand again.

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

An excerpt from I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do full as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

Walt Whitman