Planetkiki. 2001. Angst. New York: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN: 0761123830.
Anyone who has spent time with teenage girls knows they ride a roller coaster ride of emotions each day. Angst is a compilation of those feelings into one book, ranging from the angry to the smitten. Planetkiki.com was (the website was no longer active when I searched) a place where teen girls from all over the world could share their poetry, thoughts, and feelings. In addition to the poems, the reference section contains definitions of various types of poetry, frameworks for readers to try writing their own poems, and a short biography of each writer.
The poems are what is expected from young writers: lots of rhyming words that sometimes developed into a deep thought but often remained surface-level rants. “It’s stupid; it’s dumb/ Why must I always feel this way? I can’t feel now, I’m numb/ And it starts over every day” (86). In addition, with online postings, the chance of someone plagiarizing is high, like the poem “Me” having an insert “explaining” how it is based on a poem “Me” by Jewel Kilcher, which when analyzed reveals it’s the same poem with a few words or phrases changed. However, I think that’s the point—that writing, no matter how undeveloped, is to be admired. Putting their feelings about boys, friends, and family on paper for the world to see takes strength. The writing skill can be developed, but vulnerability and the strength to show it can’t be taught.
The poem “Life Sucks” exemplifies the sentiments of most of the writers in the book.
“It’s been way too long for me to stop
To think about what is going on in me
All I know is….
We all Suck
Life Sucks” (29).
The book could be presented to a class of reluctant writers who need to see that feelings are for expressing and everyone has something to say and to share. The poems are not geared for deep discussion of lofty ideas, but they are inspirational to young writers who may need to see that teens can have their poetry published. When I originally picked this book for reviewing, I thought the website would be a great place for a class to submit their own poems, so I was saddened to see the website was gone. Teens should have a place to share their writing.