Bend Don’t Shatter is an anthology of poetry for young adults that realistically and beautifully deals with what it means to come of age as gay, lesbian, transgender, or, as is perhaps more often the case in adolescence, totally confused. The anthology approaches the seemingly unnavigable territory of teenage sexuality and confusion with poems written by adults who keenly remember the turmoil, pain and excitement of adolescence and sexual coming of age. The poems are written with the insight and clarity of perspective and understanding that comes with years.
The book shows that teenage sexuality is more nuanced and complicated than it is often given credit for. It is valuable in that it not only provides a service of sorts—giving young adults a thing with which they can identify, a thing that might comfort, console, explain, entertain, and illuminate—but also just as importantly, it brings the pleasures of poetry to an audience for whom poetry itself might seem as unfathomable as adulthood itself.