Friday, June 12, 2020

Poetry Friday: Nikki Grimes and a Poetry Swap

Today's roundup host, the inimitable Irene, has requested that we honor Nikki Grimes today. What a wonderful idea! Irene points out that Nikki has won many awards lately for her writing, and because of the pandemic, the in-person celebrations have been much diminished. I hope Poetry Friday will help make that feel just a little bit better.

I have shared Nikki Grimes' work with my students. Her poem "Hanging in the Park" came up on my computer when I searched her name; it describes kids watching the guys playing basketball and wishing that one of them would go be a star, shine for the neighborhood, represent them.

Here are some clips of her reading her poems.

And here she is talking about her childhood and her writing:

Congratulations to Nikki Grimes and thank you for the way your work is a mirror and a window for our students and for us teachers, too!

Another poetic event this week was receiving my first Poetry Swap of the summer. Thanks so much to Tabatha Yeatts for creating these opportunities to brighten up the summer. I heard from Tricia, of the Miss Rumphius Effect, who sent me a found poem from Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. I thought of Kingsolver's book again after seeing that protestors in Belgium are removing statues of King Leopold II. (See here, for example.) The novel, and history, and Tricia's poem, all remind us that actions have consequences, sometimes extremely far-reaching ones.

In the Shadow of Violence and Oppression
Lines excerpted and adapted from The Poisonwood Bible, copyright 1998 by Barbara Kingsolver, p. 8-10

The whole world turns on an axis
as it barrels through space

While on a more earthly plane
I have seen things
you'll never know about

Memories rise out of me
days darkly colored
weigh on me

I am one more soul walking free
in a white skin

I'll confess the truth - I was there
a party to failed relations
and monstrous things thundering down

I want you to find me innocent
but I am not

I looked past it
did not speak of it
never managed the full truth

How can I live with it?
How will you?

found by Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Be sure to check out Irene's roundup here to see what others have shared today!


jama said...

Thanks for sharing the Reading Rockets video -- enjoyed it! And Tricia's found poem is powerful.

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, thanks for all of the poetry goodness about Nikki. I enjoyed the entire video you shared. Thanks for also showcasing Tricia's found poem. These lines are very timely for these days:
I am one more soul walking free
in a white skin

I'll confess the truth - I was there
a party to failed relations
and monstrous things thundering down...

Have a quiet weekend.

Linda B said...

Since I just finished Ordinary Hazards, I love hearing Nikki talk about her writing and her life especially, Ruth. And that poem from Tricia is quite something for today, for a long time. Thanks!

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow, Ruth—Tricia’s findings are incredible. Poisonwood Bible was a game changer for me as a reader and a writer. I love these arranged lines.

michelle kogan said...

Thanks for sharing Tricia's powerful and timely poem Ruth. And all the links to hear Nikki's poems, and to hear her speaking about her own life.

laurasalas said...

Ruth, thank you for this post and for sharing Tricia's powerful poem. Wow.

Catherine Flynn said...

Thank you for sharing the Nikki Grimes interview and Tricia's powerful poem. I read The Poisonwood Bible years ago, but I think I need to reread it.