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Poems written by children are not typically part of the literary canon. Because of cultural biases that frame young people as intellectually and artistically immature, these works are often excluded or dismissed as juvenilia. Rachel Conrad contends that youth-composed poems should be read as literary works in their own right—works that are deserving of greater respect in literary culture.
Time for Childhoods presents a selection of striking twentieth-and twenty-first-century American poetry written by young people, and highlights how young poets imagined and shaped time for their own poetic purposes. Through close engagement with archival materials, as well as select interviews and correspondence with adult mentors, Conrad discerns how young writers figured social realities and political and racial injustices, and discusses what important advocates such as Gwendolyn Brooks and June Jordan can teach us about supporting the agency of young poets. This essential study demonstrates that young poets have much to contribute to ongoing conversations about time and power.
About the Author
RACHEL CONRAD is professor of childhood studies at Hampshire College.
"Time for Childhoods is often compelling and always richly generative . . . the powerful poems [Conrad] introduces to us in so doing convince me that the questions she formulates are worth pursuing."—Children's Literature Association Quarterly
"Time for Childhoods manages to serve simultaneously as a broad primer to key concepts and issues in child authorship and a fresh analysis of the workings of young people's poetry, particularly with respect to temporality. This balance makes the book eminently teachable for an interdisciplinary range of undergraduate and graduate courses. Conrad's work should prove an equally close companion to scholars invested in childhood studies, young people's creativity, and contemporary poetry."—The Lion and the Unicorn
"Well researched, clearly written, and bracingly original, Time for Childhoods is a model of interdisciplinary scholarship. I read it with excitement and delight."—Angela Sorby, author of Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865–1917
"A groundbreaking study of children's writing. This book will be widely read and discussed by all who are engaged with childhood studies."—Richard Flynn, professor of English, Georgia Southern University