Summary: Dizzy in Your Eyes is a collection of love poems through the eyes of teenagers, all written by Pat Mora. There are poems about first noticing your love, to trying to talk to them, to the end of a relationship and everything in between. Pat Mora writes the poems mostly in English, but you can definately feel her Hispanic culture in these poems.
Cultural Markers: Even though these poems are written in English, there are a few words that are in Spanish to help you actually visualize the culture. For example, in “Mirrors,” Grandma keeps calling her Tan Linda, which is Spanish for “you’re beautiful.”In “Valentine to Papi,” the girl refers to her dad as “papi,” which is a common name for dads in Hispanic culture. Then there is the poem “Conversation/ Conversacion,” which is a conversation between two people and one of them only speaks Spanish. And then there is the poem “Ode to Teachers,” which she wrote first in English, and then completely translated it in “Oda a las maestras.” There is another cultural marker in the poem “Mariachi Fantasy.” In the poem, the narrator notices a cholla cactus and imagines it as a mariachi, a popular form of music in Mexico. There are a few Hispanic names, like Cecilia in “Back Then” and Romeo in “Revenge X3.” There seems to be quite a few poems where the narrators have strong relationships with their grandparents. It is common for Hispanic children to be very close to their grandparents.
Personal Reflection: When I was about to start reading this collection of poems, I expected there to be nothing but references to Hispanic culture in pretty much every poem. That was not the case. Many poems had no clear ethnicity of the narrator. That caught me off guard, but I still did enjoy reading the collection. All the poems are written with teenage narrators, but that doesn’t mean a few of them didn’t hit close to home. I think what made these poems have an even bigger impact on me was the fact that I myself am Hispanic, and I could actually see myself as a narrator in these poems. I teach fifth grade, so I see many of these poems going a bit over their head at times, but if I were to teach high school, I would definitely use this during a poetry lesson.
Awards: Americas Award, 1993-2015 (Commended, 2011)
From School Library Journal: “Those expecting a more typical raw, edgy approach to love with poetry akin to the ramblings of a teenager’s journal will be better off elsewhere. Teachers in need of a fresh new avenue for teaching poetic form, lovers of language, and teens in search of a broader definition of love will find it here.”
From Booklist: Mora writes in free verse, as well as a wide variety of classic poetic forms—including haiku, clerihew, sonnet, cinquain, and blank verse—and for each form, there is an unobtrusive explanatory note on the facing page. The tight structures intensify the strong feelings in the poems, which teens will enjoy reading on their own or hearing aloud in the classroom.