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Review: The Rose that Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur

Title: The Rose that Grew From Concrete

AuthorTupac Shakur

Year Published: 2009

Category: YA fiction (poetry)
Pages: 176
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (CA)

Summary (from Amazon):
His talent was unbounded a raw force that commanded attention and respect.
His death was tragic—a violent homage to the power of his voice.
His legacy is indomitable—as vibrant and alive today as it has ever been.

This collection of deeply personal poetry is a mirror into the legendary artist's enigmatic world and its many contradictions.

Written in his own hand from the time he was nineteen, these seventy-two poems embrace his spirit, his energy—and his ultimate message of hope.

Review: I have never read any of Tupac Shakur's poetry. Ok, I am not a big poetry person, but I feel like this is one collection that I've meant to read for a very long time so I am glad that I finally got around to it.

The introduction to this collection helped me to better understand the author and the poetry; they were written in a two-year period, mostly in a poetry circle/class. Shakur hoped to inspire harmony, peace, and understanding with his writing. The poems are each only one page long, written on the left page in Shakur's writing with the typed version on the right side.

Shakur's life and death is one that I feel I know. Kind of. Just by rumor. I do wish the editors had included a timeline or brief biography of Tupac Shakur to give the reader a little insight into his life without having to go away and research. He was only 25 when he was killed.

The poems touch on love, friendship, poverty, family, and more, showing a side of Shakur that I am sure, most didn't know about. Here are two of my favorites, I think they would be interesting ones to use in a classroom discussion about language since he wrote in such an un-typical way replacing words with numbers and playing with spelling.

What of Fame?
everyone knows ure Face
the world screams your name
Never again R u alone

If I Fail
If in my quest 2 achieve my goals
I stumble or crumble and lose my soul
Those that knew me would easily co-sign
There was never a life as hard as mine
No father--no money--no chance and no guide
I only follow my voice inside
if it guides me wrong and I do not win
I'll learn from mistakes and try 2 achieve again.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Diversity--African American author

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