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With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero

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A novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo. As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse. A restless and romantic soul, A novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo. As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse. A restless and romantic soul, Rubén traveled across Central and South America seeking adventure and connection. As he discovered new places and new loves, he wrote poems to express his wild storm of feelings. But the traditional forms felt too restrictive. He began to improvise his own poetic forms so he could capture the entire world in his words. At the age of twenty-one, he published his first book Azul, which heralded a new literary movement called Modernismo that blended poetry and prose.


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A novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo. As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse. A restless and romantic soul, A novel in verse about Rubén Darío, the Nicaraguan poet and folk hero who initiated the literary movement of Modernismo. As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse. A restless and romantic soul, Rubén traveled across Central and South America seeking adventure and connection. As he discovered new places and new loves, he wrote poems to express his wild storm of feelings. But the traditional forms felt too restrictive. He began to improvise his own poetic forms so he could capture the entire world in his words. At the age of twenty-one, he published his first book Azul, which heralded a new literary movement called Modernismo that blended poetry and prose.

30 review for With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    Engle explores the life of Rubén Darío. Born in Nicaragua, abandoned by his mother, Rubén began experimenting with different, more complex poetry forms at such a young age, he became known as el niño poeta. This is such a lovely book and led me to discover more about the poet and read his own poems.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    What a wonderful way to learn about a noted poet ... through poetry!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Margarita Engle crafts a beautiful novel-in-verse of the early life of Nicaraguan national poet Rubin Dario. The prose is alive with vivid words painting Dario’s world filled with emotion as he experiences abandonment, political unrest, loss, racism. This is definitely a finely crafted YA biography that will be savored by poetry lovers. Highly recommend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Claire Annette

    With a Star in My Hand is a biography written in verse about Nicaragua's national poet. Abandoned by his mother as a child, Rubén Darío, was raised by his great uncle, El Bocon – Big Mouth and his wife, Bernarda. His childhood was filled with stories told by his uncle, the cook, and the priest yet he desperately wanted to know his own story. We learn of his beginnings as a child poet- Math, geography, and grammar Also have their orderly place in my school day, But poetry arrives in its own way, Wild With a Star in My Hand is a biography written in verse about Nicaragua's national poet. Abandoned by his mother as a child, Rubén Darío, was raised by his great uncle, El Bocon – Big Mouth and his wife, Bernarda. His childhood was filled with stories told by his uncle, the cook, and the priest yet he desperately wanted to know his own story. We learn of his beginnings as a child poet- Math, geography, and grammar Also have their orderly place in my school day, But poetry arrives in its own way, Wild like a hurricane, A storm of turbulent wind And ocean waves! Margarita’s beautiful verses flow on the page bringing this poet to life who, as a twelve-year-old, sold his poetry for treats, tickets to the circus, and money. When he was published in a newspaper, he became known as el niño poeta, the boy poet. Margarita’s poems describe the abandonment, betrayal, revolution, illness, love, work, and travel that contributed to the making of Rubén Darío. His poems have touched people all over the world as he became a voice of truth and inspiration and changed literature written in Spanish.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    Engle captures Dario's life by telling his story through poetry. Readers see his world come to life as he grew up and matured in his gift.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    Reviewing this for a professional magazine, so see final (amazing) review there.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Rubén Darío was a Nicaraguan poet who became famous for his poetry at a young age. In this biography-in-verse, Margarita Engle follows Darío from his early childhood to when he had his first book of poetry published at the age of 21. Darío was abandoned by his mother and taken in by family. From a young age, he was a dreamer who loved listening to and reading stories. As he got a little older, he started writing poetry, and discovered he could trade his poems for things he wanted, such as candy. Rubén Darío was a Nicaraguan poet who became famous for his poetry at a young age. In this biography-in-verse, Margarita Engle follows Darío from his early childhood to when he had his first book of poetry published at the age of 21. Darío was abandoned by his mother and taken in by family. From a young age, he was a dreamer who loved listening to and reading stories. As he got a little older, he started writing poetry, and discovered he could trade his poems for things he wanted, such as candy. "With a Star in My Hand" is a lovely book, and Engle seems to enjoy poetry as much as Darío did, both the rules of it, and the enormous possibility for improvisation. The tight focus on his youth frames one of the main questions that seemed to trouble Darío - why should the passion and hope of a young person be stifled, rather than embraced? Why tell someone like this troubled teenage poet to wait for the wisdom and circumspection of adulthood, rather than allowing them to utilize their strengths? I recommend this to poetry fans and anyone interested in learning a little bit of Nicaraguan history.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A poet writes poems about a poet.✨ ✨ But seriously, this is stunning. Engle expertly weaves together a novel in verse on the early life of Rubén Darío. 🖊 It’s packed with emotional poetry that exquisitely captures what it’s like to be young. What it’s like to be on the edge of political explosion. What it’s like to have so much to say, but doubts about who will listen. What it’s like to have one hand in reality, the other up among the stars. ⭐️ It’s very much rooted in Darío’s time, but surprisingl A poet writes poems about a poet.✨ ✨ But seriously, this is stunning. Engle expertly weaves together a novel in verse on the early life of Rubén Darío. 🖊 It’s packed with emotional poetry that exquisitely captures what it’s like to be young. What it’s like to be on the edge of political explosion. What it’s like to have so much to say, but doubts about who will listen. What it’s like to have one hand in reality, the other up among the stars. ⭐️ It’s very much rooted in Darío’s time, but surprisingly timeless. 🕰 Bonus: an author’s note fills in Darío’s bio and leads readers to resources for learning more about his incredible life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Ruben Dario was abandoned by his mom in a field of cows when he was very young. He was taken in and adopted by older family members. He was always fascinated by words and poetry and began writing poems to express his thoughts and feelings. He became known as the Boy Poet and used his poems as currency - to buy candy or to get into the circus. Although he became famous at an early age, his life was not an easy one. This is a novel in verse biography about a Nicaraguan poet. Engle's writing is lyri Ruben Dario was abandoned by his mom in a field of cows when he was very young. He was taken in and adopted by older family members. He was always fascinated by words and poetry and began writing poems to express his thoughts and feelings. He became known as the Boy Poet and used his poems as currency - to buy candy or to get into the circus. Although he became famous at an early age, his life was not an easy one. This is a novel in verse biography about a Nicaraguan poet. Engle's writing is lyrical and evocative. It begs one to savor it as one reads. It highlights a poet from a culture that certainly does not get enough attention and therefore is an important addition to the collective.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A decent biography of the famous Nicaraguan poet set to poems written by Engle. Engle does a good job of creating a readable narrative while focusing on highlights of Darío’s life and mostly avoiding preachy lessons. My one complaint would be that the subject matter feels YA while the poem structure reads as middle grade. I enjoyed With a Star in My Hand, but I have no idea what age group would enjoy the book. I can’t see teenagers who would be inspired by Darío’s story wanting to read something A decent biography of the famous Nicaraguan poet set to poems written by Engle. Engle does a good job of creating a readable narrative while focusing on highlights of Darío’s life and mostly avoiding preachy lessons. My one complaint would be that the subject matter feels YA while the poem structure reads as middle grade. I enjoyed With a Star in My Hand, but I have no idea what age group would enjoy the book. I can’t see teenagers who would be inspired by Darío’s story wanting to read something they might consider poems for kids. Quasi-recommended. Quasi-recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Staller

    Not quite historical fiction, not quite nonfiction look at the life of Ruben Dario, a Nicaraguan poet. Told in verse, this novel explains his importance to the poetry community and how he was revolutionary in how he broke the conventional rules of what poetry was. I think this novel will be a tough sell to students because of its genre and form, but I learned a lot from it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Candice Trimm

    Beautifully executed storytelling through verse. Margarita Engle introduces us to the famous Ruebn Dario, a poetry hero. She magically translates his story into the pages of this book. I'm amazed by how she captures Rubens, emotions, dreams, and struggles while walking us through his timeline. I am in Awe of both Engle and Dario.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Wright

    What a beautiful, quick read. A book of poems about a poet, it was historical and beautiful in nature. It reminded me of the importance of now, and to always value love, health, and truth over wealth and other superficial things. A nice read for a Sunday morning. I highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    This historical novel in verse about Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, moved too slowly. A lot of written word about poetic form, and not a lot of action. Probably won't hold students' interests much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Biographical novel in verse about the life of Ruben Dario (who I previously knew next to nothing about). Slow to start, but really good overall.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Great Books

    Readers are introduced to the tumultuous early life of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario and the birth of modernismo in this poignant biography in verse. Reviewer #20

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    3.8 Stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Another wonderful novel in verse by a great author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kip

    I loved this book so much! Not only is it filled with the background on such a beloved poet but the poetry here sings on its own. Such gorgeous writing!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    For a poetry book I thought this was very good. Not a lot of rhyming which is not all about poetry but it still tells a great story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    beautifully written but not sure of audience appeal.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Alessandri

    I’m a huge fan of Margarita Engle‘s work. WITH A STAR IN MY HAND is beautiful. I loved learning more about Rubén Darío, and Engle’s poetry is absolutely lovely.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    A beautiful story with a few standout verses. I think the verse just didn't quite pull me in enough, not like some other poetry I've read this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily Edmisten

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angelita

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fm Shipp

  27. 4 out of 5

    ❄Elsa Frost❄

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Teague

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rose Marie

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