Cover Image: Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I have not read a lot of poetry, and I haven't read anything by Nikki Grimes, but I really enjoyed this interesting format. She alternated a poem by a 1920s-ish-era woman poet with a poem of her own constructed from that poem using the Golden Shovel format, which I had not heard of before.

The artwork is eye-catching, detailed, and stunning. Even more than the poetry, I enjoyed the bios of the poets and artists making up the latter part of the small book.
Was this review helpful?
Nikki Grimes weaves new poems around the words of women from the Harlem Renaissance.  Grimes creates new works to empower.
Was this review helpful?
When you think about the Harlem Renaissance, how many women can you name? Most people would name Lorraine Hansberry (playwright of "A Raisin in the Sun"). This collection edited by poet Nikki Grimes is a praise to the women who contributed to this essential movement one hundred years ago. Alternating between Grimes' poetry (and the illustrations) and poems by other modern female poets, are poems by Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Esther Popel (read "Flag Salute"), Angelina Weld Grimke (a relative of the famous abolitionists), and several more. The poems reflect the themes of racism and femininity of both the past and the present, which presents how not much has changed during the last century. Regardless, the poems are meaningful and enjoyable. 

P.S. Anyone who enjoyed Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem (Inauguration Day 2021) should read this collection.
Was this review helpful?
This was a gorgeous companion to Grimes first golden shovel anthology “One last word”
Teachers will want this book in their classrooms and students will not be able to put this book down
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this collection of poems. I thought they were very cleverly drawn from poems by women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The poems are about womanhood, blackness and the intersection of both identities. This book would work for both middle-grade and adult audiences. If you enjoy real poetry, I would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Happy New Year!! My first read for the year I was so lucky to get Nikki Grimes' ARC on poets from the Harlem Renaissance. Personally, I am not too familiar with authors from the Harlem Renaissance; I did have one class in college that thematically revolved around the texts, but my knowledge ends there. Because of this, I felt that Grimes' book was a perfect reintroduction to the movement and the female poets that have fallen off my radar. 

One thing to know about this book of poetry is that it written in the "Golden Shovel" format. Grimes does a great job in explaining what the format is, but to paraphrase the Golden Shovel Poem is created using a line from another poem; once you have that line, the words in that poem must be used as the last word of each line in your poem. What I enjoyed about this is that even before we get into the readings, Grimes explains and gives an example of what this will look like. I find that to be so helpful and something that can be used in the classroom. 

On to the book- some things that I fully enjoyed about the book is that each poem by the Harlem Renaissance authors is thematically connected to Grimes' Shovel Poem. For example, if the poem is speaking towards societal standards for women Grimes will also keep that theme and recreate a new poem as a response or as a continuation. Reading both sets was something empowering because the themes encouraged readers to be more than what society tells us to be. 

In addition to beautiful works of poetry, visual artist were included in the process because at the end of each poem set there is a related image done by an illustrator/artist. No piece is a duplicate, and they each bring out the mental image that represented the poetry. 

Legacy is an amazing addition to any collection because it mixes modes of art as well as timelines in a seamless manner. I would love to see another addition to this book in the form of a series, and I can honestly say that Nikki Grimes did not disappoint.
Was this review helpful?
This book is absolutely stunning in the way it introduces us to these incredible and raw poems written by women poets during the Harlem Renaissance period and then Nikki creates a whole new poem from parts of their poetry. It is truly magical. The illustrations are just incredibly beautiful. This book is a true gem.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released January 5, 2021, by Bloomsbury Children's Books. 

Nikki Grimes honours and inspires all Black girls and woman in this gorgeous compendium. I am inspired and honoured to be able to review it. I've preordered my own copy. You will want to do the same. 

This swoon-worthy anthology is a celebration of Black womanhood. It is pure pleasure to be introduced to women poets of the Harlem Renaissance and modern Black woman painters through it.

The compilation is organized into four sections. Part 1, Heritage, includes poems that reflect Black women's history. Part 2, Earth Mother, references poets' connections to their environment. Part 2, Taking Notice, deals with the social and political reality of today. Part 4, The Resources section includes short biographies of the poets and illustrators whose work is included in this anthology. There is also a bibliography and an index.

The first three sections are formatted into numerous vignettes composed of three parts. An original poem is presented by one of these poets with a small part highlighted. Grimes uses these highlighted sections to create golden shovel poems. Each poetic pairing is accompanied by a painting that reflects the substance of the paired poems and ties it all together. Each little vignette creates a space of beauty to lose yourself in. 

See for yourself in this example from the second section:

I envision all kinds of uses for this book in schools and wish I was still teaching so I could use it as mentor text for part of a poetry unit. 

Like a child in a candy shop, I highlighted and bookmarked almost too many sections to pick just one to share with you. There are lines like Grimes' Make each stanza strut in response to Gwendolyn Bennett's poem, Advice. I dare you to read the book yourself and try and pick just one best part. 

I leave you with these final words from Journey's End, her poem of thankfulness, 

They lift me
from the smallness 
of other's
reminding me 
that I am more
than anyone
gives me credit for.

Purchase at least one copy for your school library.
Was this review helpful?
Nikki Grimes didn't invent the Golden Shovel (which creates a new poem using a line or lines from an existing poem at the end of each new line) but she's mastered this challenging poetic form. With equal parts spunk and lyrical language, Grimes's poems draw parallels between the frustrations of Harlem Renaissance poets and those today, such as racism, sexism, and apathy towards climate change. It's pure joy to discover the poets of the Harlem Renaissance featured and see how Grimes builds on their words for more contemporary readers. The illustrations bring her words to life in some unexpected ways. This book is a great addition to a young person's poetry collection or a classroom poetry collection.
Was this review helpful?
This children’s book introduces young readers to lesser known Harlem Renaissance poets.  The focus is on women poets of that time who have not received recognition as their male contemporaries.  

The selections of poems are excellent in their use of imagery, rhythm and other poetic devices.  Nikki Grimes displays her creativity by using the Golden Shovel method to create a poem from a line in the Harlem Renaissance era.  It is a way from Grimes and young readers to have a conversation with poets of the past.

This book also has gorgeous artwork to accompany the poem selection.

I was given the opportunity to review an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Oh. My. Goodness! I was so excited to get selected to digitally preview this book of poems but did not realize how much I needed to have a paper copy (or two) of Legacy in my classroom until I read through it. And reread some pages again (like her poem Kneel). I teach her novel Bronx Masquerade to my eighth grade students and we cover some Langston Hughes poems as well as student-selected poems to complement the story. First with this book, I can add more women's' voices as options and second, if we can figure out how to do it, I would like to try the Golden Shovel strategy she uses as a way to write and then perform our own poetry, just like Mr. Ward's students do. The illustrations are beautiful, the poetry is lovely and the whole book will be resource and a welcome addition to my library. Thank you to #NetGalley for the opportunity to preview #LegacyWomenPoetsoftheHarlemRenaissance by #NikkiGrimes - what an unexpected gift for me and my students!
Was this review helpful?
A collection of poetry from lesser-known women of the Harlem Renaissance on racial rights, gender rights, and nature. Each poem is followed by a golden shovel poem by Nikki Grimes that includes one phrase from the Harlem poet’s poem serving as the last words of each line of Grimes’ poem. These two poems are then followed by an illustration by a woman of color. After the poems are paragraph biographies of each poet and artist featured in the book.

I will need to hunt down more poems by some of these ladies I had never heard of before. Some of their work was quite stunning. There should be a little something for everyone in here. I’d never heard of golden shovel poetry before, so it was interesting to see those and read how they can be challenging to put together. I liked the variety of artwork. This would be a fantastic collection to read during African American History Month, or any time for those interested in lesser known poets and unique poetry forms. This collection would be best appreciated by middle grade readers on up.

Notes on content: One poem includes a use of profanity. No sexual content. One poem is about a lynching and is sobering though not graphic.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Just as women composers, scientists, inventors, and mathematicians of history have been overlooked and undocumented, so too have female poets of the Harlem Renaissance.  In Legacy:  Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, poet Nikki Grimes has brought these ignored and forgotten poets to a new generation of readers.  In addition to featuring their poems, she creates he own “Golden Shovel” poems by using a line from the original poems to create a new legacy of contemporary poetry.
The meaning and spirit of this beautiful collection of old and new poems is further enriched with art and illustrations in a way that is sure to delight young and old alike.
Was this review helpful?
The poetry and illustrations in this book are amazing. There are so many things you could do with this book in a classroom setting the possibilities are endless. I really feel every one that teaches poetry needs this book in their back pocket. The poems in and of them selves are very moving. The way the poems flow and then add the beautiful illustrations make this books just a work of art. The poet biographies at the end are very neat and really add to the book. Add this to your classroom now, it will be added to my library.
Was this review helpful?
Nikki Grimes is on fire! Not only does this beautiful book allow these Harlem Renaissance female poets to step forward in their own power, using their own voices, but when Grimes uses the Golden Shovel poetry form originated by Terrance Hayes, these new poems are used as praise songs for the originals. 

This is the first time I have seen this form (Golden Shovel) but what a wonderful way to create voice and word play. This is also a fabulous way to take analysis out of the realm of academic "mansplaining" and into the realm of possibility and deep reverberations.  Read this book, coming out in January 2021, to see what Grimes can do with this form. 

The "rules" of Golden Shovel: 
grab a striking line from a poem, or for short poems, take it in its entirety. Bold that striking line or poem.
Arrange that striking line or poem in a line, word by word, in the right margin
You then create. your new poem, keeping the borrowed line or poem as the last words of each line
The result is a lovely call and response from the ancestors to Ms. Grimes and back again. What a fabulous homage to these, until now, forgotten names that sit equal to Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Was this review helpful?
If you loved 'One Last Word,' you will be over the moon for this new poetry/art anthology from Nikki Grimes. Each Harlem Renaissance poem is paired with a Nikki Grimes poem written in the golden shovel style she does so well and accompanied by an original work of art that complements the two poems. In the last half of the book, short bios on the poets and artists are included. Reading these beautiful is like balm for the soul and the artwork fires up the imagination. My favorite poem is entitled 'The Bronze Legacy (To A Brown Boy)' by Effie Lee Newsome, written in 1922:

Tis a noble gift to be brown, all brown,
     Like the strongest things that make up this earth,
Like the mountains grave and grand,
     Even like the very land,
     Even like the trunks of trees—
     Even oaks, to be like these!
God builds His strength in bronze.

To be brown like thrush and lark!
     Like the subtle wren so dark!
Nay, the king of beasts wears brown;
     Eagles are of this same hue.
I thank God, then, I am brown.
     Brown has mighty things to do.

Thank you to Nikki Grimes, Bloomsbury Children's Books and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC digital copy. I have not been compensated for my opinion and this is an honest review.

Beautiful. Creative. Informative.

The ebook was fabulous, and I can't wait to see the print copy to better appreciate the artwork. I was inspired while reading the original poems and in awe of the Golden Shovel form used by Nikki Grimes. I had never heard of this poetry style before, and it worked so well to read the same words used in a completely different manner.

I am truly appreciative of the biographical information included about the original writers and artists. There are several that I plan to research further. For instance, I had learned of the Grimke' family when reading The Invention of Wings, so to see that name in this book instantly captured my attention!
Was this review helpful?
This book was a beautiful mix of poems from women poets from the Harlem Renaissance (many of whom as an English major I didn't immediately know) and the contemporary poems of Nikki Grimes. Everything was paired seamlessly and the artwork was gorgeous. I particularly liked that in addition to the wonderful poetry, there were biographies and content that make it a valuable learning tool.
Was this review helpful?
Before reading this, if someone would have asked me about women poets of the Harlem Renaissance, they would have received a blank stare. Not only does this book exposed me to some of the poetry and women poets, but it exposed me to various types of poetry. As a teacher (and life-long student), I am aware of various forms of poetry, but to see a poetry that reflects me has built an additional sense of pride. I will definitely buy this book for my classroom and my personal library. I would give this book ten out of ten!

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing me with an advance eBook arc in exchange for my unbiased, honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance uplifts the voices of lesser known Black women poets during the Harlem Renaissance. Each featured poem reads as if it were written today. Grimes presents a new way to engage with these women and their work via her interpretation (using Terrance Hayes’ Golden Shovel poetry) and the beautifully done illustrations. Grimes begins and ends the text with her original works that seem to embody what it means to be Black and a woman.  Grimes’ choice to highlight Black women poets and spotlight up and coming Black women illustrators embodies Black Girl Magic. I especially enjoyed reading the biographies of the poets at the end. Definitely a book I’d recommend adding to your library.
Was this review helpful?