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  • Taylor Marshall

You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves by Diana Whitney

In You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, Diana Whitney arranges a wide variety of poetry from diverse authors into a beautiful tapestry of what it means to be a woman. Whitney compiles a selection of poems depicting eight specific emotions many women can relate to. She introduces each section with her own feelings about each emotion, capturing the essence of relatability through each poem she references and each experience she presents. In this sense, Whitney uses poems like “Questions for Google” by Elizabeth Spires to describe the feeling of “seeking” or discovering. While vague, the questions posed by Spires convey a complete sense of seeking, as she is seeking for answers herself. While not as full of imagery as a majority of other poems in the collection, “Questions for Google” is no doubt a poem that many women and girls can relate to. Asking questions is a natural part of our existence. Whitney also uses poems replete with imagery and vibrant experience to convey more completely the section theme. “Black Daughter’s Pointillism” by Amanda Gorman uses copious amounts of imagery in not only the words she uses, but the page layout as well. The poem is arranged in such a way to create the silhouette of a woman. Each instance of imagery further conveys the larger theme of the section, which is “attitude.” Whitney’s inclusion of “Black Daughter’s Pointillism” was an inspired idea that will resonate with the many women that read this collection. Though Diana Whitney is not the sole author of the poetry in this book, she has carefully crafted a wonderful resource for women who want to belong. You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves is full of ideas and reassurances that women everywhere should be reminded of.



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