Sarah Schwartz's Reviews > Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices

Here in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers
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's review
Oct 11, 11

bookshelves: children-s-literature
Read in October, 2011

Genre: Poetry
Awards: 2005 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
Age Group: Adolescent

Summary: This collection of poems is a tribute to African-American people that the author met during his years in Harlem. He identifies each person, their age, and their occupation and tells their story through the use of lyric poetry.

Evaluation: I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because I think it meets all of the criteria outlined by our text for defining quality poetry. The format of this collection is lyric poetry, which is meant to evoke feeling. Several of the poems were especially successful at creating an emotional response. Both the poem about Eleanor Hayden (Nanny) and Caroline Fleming (Maid) spoke to the injustices faced by African-American women who raise and care for White children. The poem about Deacon Macon Allen gets more and more intense, allowing the reader to feel as if they are actually present in the Church. Several of the poems have a definitive meter, or beat that provides an almost musical quality. The short verses and repetition of the word “bop” in the poem about Willie Arnold (Alto Sax Player) evoke a sense of staccato notes played in a jazz club. Overall, the poems left me with a sense of emotion that ranged from joyful to distraught.
Aesthetically, the book is fairly plain, allowing the content to shine. Black and white photographs are peppered throughout the book and the torn edges of the pages add a textural element.
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