Toni's Reviews > Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem

Fortune's Bones by Marilyn Nelson
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's review
Oct 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: poetry, wide-reading-project, ages-12-up
Read in October, 2011

Short, but very powerful. This requiem honors a slave who died in Connecticut in 1798. His owner, a doctor, dissected his body, boiling down his bones to preserve them for anatomy studies. The skeleton was lost and rediscovered, then hung in a local museum until 1970, when it was removed from display. A preface lays out the facts of Fortune's life, followed by "Dinah's Lament," in which his wife mourns the husband whose bones she is ordered to dust. Other pieces are in the voices of Fortune's owner, his descendants, workers, and museum visitors. Each page of verse faces a green page containing text and full-color archival graphics that lay out the facts of Fortune's story. This volume sets history and poetry side-by-side and, combined with the author's personal note on inspirations.

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