Legacy Women poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Nikki Grimes

Book - 2021

From Children's Literature Legacy Award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes a feminist-forward new collection of poetry celebrating the little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance-- paired with full-color, original art from today's most talented female African-American illustrators. Taking inspiration from the unsung women poets of the era, Grimes uses the "Golden Shovel" poetry method to create original poems drawn from the words of ... groundbreaking women writers. Set alongside the original works, Grimes's all-new poetry pays tribute to the unique heritage of these women and their spiritual connection to nature, illuminating female self-expression in the early twentieth century, reinvented with contemporary ...relevance and context. Featuring artwork by some of today's most exciting Black women: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Xia Gordon, April Harrison, Vashti Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Cathy Ann Johnson, Keisha Morris, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Erin Robinson, Shadra Strickland, Nicole Tadgell, Elizabeth Zunon.

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Location Call Number   Status
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New York : Bloomsbury Children's Books 2021.
Main Author
Nikki Grimes (author)
Other Authors
Vanessa Brantley-Newton (illustrator), Cozbi A. Cabrera
Item Description
Follow-up to the book: One Last Word / by Nikki Grimes.
Physical Description
134 pages: color illustrations ; 21 cm
Ages 10-14.
Grades 4-6.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-129) and index.
  • Part I: Heritage
  • Part II: Earth Mother
  • Part III: Taking notice.
  • Preface ; The Harlem Renaissance ; Poetry form
  • Part I: Heritage. Whatever / by Nikki Grimes [N.G.]
  • Heritage / by Mae V. Cowdery
  • Before / by N.G.
  • I am not proud / by Helene Johnson
  • Having my say / by N.G.
  • I sit and sew / by Alice Dunbar-Nelson
  • Room for dreams / by N.G.
  • Joy / by Clarissa Scott Delany
  • Leah's reunion / by N.G.
  • Dusk / by Angelina Weld Grimké
  • Vanish / by N.G.
  • Jehovah's gesture / by Gertrude Parthenia McBrown
  • Judgment / by N.G.
  • Part II: Earth Mother. Earth, I thank you / by Anne Spencer
  • Sweet sister / by N.G.
  • Rondeau / by Jessie Redmon Fauset
  • Tara takes on Montclair / by N.G.
  • 1975 / by Anne Spencer
  • Kneel / by N.G.
  • Of Earth / by Mae V. Cowdery
  • Seeing / by N.G.
  • At the spring dawn / by Angela Weld Grimké
  • Faithful / by N.G.
  • Autumn evening / by Ida Rowland
  • Strength training / by N.G.
  • Part III: Taking Notice. Unseen / by Gertrude Parthenia McBrown
  • Taking notice / by N.G.
  • Flag salute / by Esther Popel
  • A mother's lament / by N.G.
  • The bronze legacy (to a brown boy) / by Effie Lee Newsome
  • Like an eagle / by N.G.
  • Your world / by Georgia Douglas Johnson
  • Mother to daughter / by N.G.
  • Four walls / by Blanche Taylor Dickinson
  • What girls can do / by N.G.
  • Prelude / by Lucy Ariel Williams
  • Slow burn / by N.G.
  • Advice / by Gwendolyn Bennett
  • Brown poems / by N.G.
  • Journey's end / by N.G.
  • Resources. Poet biographies ; Artist biographies ; Acknowledgments ; Sources ; Index.
Review by Booklist Review

This collection of golden shovel poems, a form that takes a striking line from one poem and uses it to create a new poem, builds on the work of women poets during the Harlem Renaissance. As the title suggests, Grimes builds on the legacy of oft unsung voices, such as Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Mae V. Cowdery, and Angelina Weld Grimké, in a three-part exploration of heritage, the Earth, and visibility. There is much to chew on here as readers take in each poem and contemplate the relationship between the originals and Grimes' own remarkable takes on each work. Adding more depth to this collection, each poem is amplified in its message with illustrations from artists such as Vashti Harrison and Laura Freeman. With a wide array of mediums from highly textured collage work to digital watercolors, the art here is unified in its emphasis on portraying the beauty and uniqueness of Black girls and women. Included at the end is a resources section that offers poet and artist biographies to deepen readers' connections with the works. Whether you read this collection in full or in part or use it as a springboard for your own shot at some golden shovel poetry, this unique title is sure to spark thought and touch hearts.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this expansive introduction to Harlem Renaissance women poets, Grimes utilizes the Golden Shovel poetry technique, which Terrance Hayes conceived in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, wherein one takes "a short poem in its entirety, or a line from the poem... to create a new poem using the words from the original." The result is a thoroughly contemporary, compassionate collection in three parts ("Heritage," "Earth Mother," and "Taking Notice,") that juxtaposes the work of poets--including Mae V. Cowdery, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Esther Popel--with Grimes's innovative feminist remixes. Acclaimed Black women artists--such as Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi Cabrera, and Vashti Harrison--illustrate, making for an abundantly layered landscape of Black female experiences. Front matter includes a preface and introductions to the Harlem Renaissance and the poetic form; back matter includes an author's note, poet biographies, sources, and an index. Ages 10--14. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up--Grimes spotlights the work of lesser-known Black women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The book begins with an explanation of the Harlem Renaissance and Golden Shovel poems. The collection is divided into three parts: "Heritage," "Earth Mother," and "Taking Notice." Golden Shovel poetry uses "a short poem in its entirety, or a line from the poem, called a striking line." The poem or striking line is then used "to create a new poem using the words from the original." Most of Grimes's poems incorporate lines of text or the entirety of a short poem into each verse. The text of the featured poet, which is used to create the new poem, is highlighted in bold type. The juxtaposition of Grimes's poetry and the original works provide a compelling reflection on gender, race, politics, and everyday life. Full-page, vibrant illustrations rendered by a variety of artists are included throughout, such as a woman whose head is a volcano for Lucy Ariel Williams's "Prelude" and "Slow Burn" by Grimes. Educators should note that the poem "Flag Salute" by Esther Popel describes lynching. Back matter includes brief biographies of the poets and artists, an index, and a list of sources. VERDICT A striking collection of voices, who examine and celebrate the experience of Black women from the past and present. An excellent introduction to Black women writers who were ignored by history.--Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Lib., WA

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Grimes returns to the Harlem Renaissance (One Last Word, rev. 3/17) to showcase the works of some female poets whose literary prowess has long been underestimated and overlooked -- Mae V. Cowdery, Anne Spencer, Effie Lee Newsome, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and a dozen others. As in the first volume, each poem from the past is matched with a new, original poem by Grimes, skillfully employing the Golden Shovel form, which allows her to bring the relevance of the past into the reality of the present. For example, Esther Pope's "Flag Salute," about the lynching and burning of a teenage boy for an alleged aggression against a white woman, is itself infused with lines of the Pledge of Allegiance. Grimes responds with a poignant poem about the unfulfilled promise of equality for African Americans, accompanied by a dramatic mixed-media illustration of a mother lamenting the loss of a son. Illustrations by nineteen contemporary female artists, including Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, and Ekua Holmes, elucidate the connections and amplify evocative messages. The eloquent and stirring voices of Grimes and her counterparts of the past resonate with passion, purpose, and resilience. Back matter includes biographies of the poets and artists as well as a bibliography. Pauletta Brown Bracy January/February 2021 p.121(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Grimes' new collection of poems weaves a contemporary Black feminist impulse while recovering the underappreciated contributions of Harlem Renaissance women poets. Winner of both the Children's Literature Legacy Award and the ALAN Award, Grimes continues to deliver distinctively situated, heart-filled offerings that tie together generations of Black artistic excellence aimed at incubating positive social change. Here her focus turns toward less-well-known women poets of the early 20th century, women like Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Gwendolyn Bennett, Mae V. Cowdery, Anne Spencer, Effie Lee Newsome, Esther Popel, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson. To their poems included here, Grimes adds her own. These are done in the form of the Golden Shovel, invented by poet Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, and they brilliantly resample the words of the women's works. All, both collected and Grimes', decidedly emerge from the experiences and worldviews of Black women and girls. They emphasize an ethos of care for oneself, one's communities, and the Earth together for the possibility of a brighter tomorrow. Accompanying them are contributions from an all-star cast of Black women illustrators, empowering artworks that could be at home in a museum. This book is exquisitely rendered. After more than 77 books, Grimes remains as inspired as ever, drawing on the historic strength of Black women's brilliance to give a timely, healing mirror to a new generation of readers. The ancestors are proud. Black girls everywhere, this collection is salve and sanctuary. (author biographies, illustrator biographies) (Poetry. 9-adult) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.