Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Comics Poetry Anthology

Wave Blue World. May 2021. 200p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781949518139.
Gr 10 Up–Focusing on sexuality, gender, identity, and nature, this graphic novel anthology of 23 feminist poems also explores related mature or emotionally heavy topics: sexual harassment, pregnancy and parenthood, miscarriage, and the implied violence of war, racism, or political upheaval. The artwork features some nudity in various poems, including at least one depiction of an explicit sexual act between two consenting adults. The lines of poetry are included in narrative boxes strategically placed throughout the illustrations, and are also shared immediately afterward as plain but intentionally formatted text. Though the illustrations are by different artists, the styles nevertheless complement one another through often cool palettes, occasionally relying on watercolor and colored pencil. The crisp blue of large bodies of water shows up in multiple poems, as do deeper-hued blues as they begin to approach the darker indigo depths of the night sky, occasionally punctuated by the warmth of a desert scene or a setting sun. The complexity of the artwork varies greatly, from simple loose, sweeping lines in front of color block backgrounds to intricate pieces with details that draw the eye to every inch of the imagery. Study guide questions and creator biographies can be found in the back matter, alongside samples of the process art. Creators and characters depicted are diverse in race, gender, and sexual identity.
VERDICT Given the combination of topic and format, this likely isn’t one most teens will pick up on their own. Still, this varied collection of illustrated poetry has depth to both words and illustrations. High school collections where poetry is in demand, or where educators need texts for poetry units, will find it useful.

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