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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  958 ratings  ·  267 reviews
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance -- including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era -- by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using "The Golden Shovel" poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is a ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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4.29  · 
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 ·  958 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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Mary Ann
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Engaging, inspiring, essential poetry to share. Needs to be in every middle school and high school library.

Full review to come.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A few quick disclaimers:
- I am not into poems, unless we're talking school assignments.
- The closer I have ever gotten is by reading a few books written in verse.
- Before opening this book I knew next to nothing about the Harlem Renaissance. I knew of it but nothing more.

So, imagine how surprised I currently am that I enjoyed this book to a five star level. I have to return it to the library even though I don't want to. There is so much to unpack. There is so much for me to soak in. This book ha
Miss Nuding C8B
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: global-reading
Beautiful poems, many of which using the style of the "golden shovel", a format of poetry involving using lines of poetry and re-formatting to create new poems. It was a refreshing style that aided the empowering tone of the collection well!
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I started this collection of poetry last night and read it cover-to-cover, only stopping on p. 18 to recommend it to most of the 6-12 English teachers I know. In the collection, Grimes pays homage to poets from the Harlem Renaissance (some well-know, others less familiar) by presenting their poems and then writing her own "Golden Shovel poem" using either the HR poet's entire poem or a line from their poem as inspiration. The catch, Grimes has to end each of her lines with the original poet's wo ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nikki Grimes's "One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance" is an exceptional reference book for history and literature classes. It contains a short piece on the history of the Harlem Renaissance, artwork by noted artists, mini biographies for the poets featured, and an index. The author's own poetry, created with "The Golden Shovel Method" is also featured in this volume and would be excellent examples to use in a creative writing class. I would recommend this book to anyone.

I won my cop
Laura Harrison
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful. The addition of glorious illustrations by many of our very best picture book artists makes One Last Word just perfect.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
One of the most extraordinary results of the Great Migration was an explosion of African American artistic endeavors during the 1920s and 1930s, a period known as the Harlem Renaissance. Art, dance, music, poetry, all artistic and cultural forms flourished during this time and Harlem became a mecca for African American artists.

Calling on some of the great poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Nikki Grimes has created an anthology of poems as only she can. She has paired some of the best poems by mast
Mary Lee
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2017
There is so much to love about this book! It is a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance poets (short biographies in the end matter), has gorgeous illustrations, and is written in a unique (and challenging!) form -- the "Golden Shovel."

Thank you, Bloomsbury for this advance copy!

Full review here:
Phil Jensen
The Harlem Renaissance was amazing, and Nikki Grimes is okay. That's the problem. This collection alternates between classics of American poetry and fresh efforts by Grimes. I found myself wishing that the Grimes portions would end so that I could get back to the Harlem classics.

Grimes wrote this using a "golden shovel" technique, which means that she took one or more lines from a classic poem and wrote a new poem with each word from the old poem ending a line. For example, if I used a golden sh
Nikki Grimes is a brilliant writer/poet/artist. There are so many things I love about this book of poems. In the preface, she describes the Harlem Renaissance, the various art forms and talents that came from that place and time, and how they directly impacted her life and career. Wanting to pay tribute to the many brilliant authors who inspired her, she chose to do so using a form of poetry called The Golden Shovel which takes words from an existing poem and uses them to create a new poem. Seei ...more
This book reads like a survey course on the literature of the Harlem Renaissance mixed with a Creative Writing course in which the author takes inspiration from the poets of that time period and creates modern masterpieces using a poetic form called the Golden Shovel. The idea of a Golden Shovel poem is to take a short poem in its entirety, or a line from that poem (called a striking line), and create a new poem, using the words from the original. The result is must read poetry that is supported ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning. Inspired by the works of seminar Harlem Renaissance-era poets, Grimes uses the "Golden Shovel" poetic form to create new poetry taking place in the modern day.

Her poetry is powerful and thought-provoking, and the illustrations (all done by prominent black illustrators) are the perfect complement to her words. There is also a preface, additional information about the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, information on the poetry form being used, short but sweet poet and artist
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am in awe of what Nikki Grimes has done in this collection. She has taken various poems published during the Harlem Renaissance and created shovel poems from lines, stanzas, and even entire poems. Her original works speak about the realities African Americans still face. Sadly, some of the contemporary poems show us that the issues that were relevant during the Harlem Renaissance are still present today.

I want to thank NetGalley for this ARC. I have already preordered a copy for my classroom
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book of poetry is wonderful, in part because of its application in the classroom (traditional or homeschool). Grimes uses the Golden Shovel - a technique where an author takes one line of a poet's work to craft a new poem. For this book, Grimes uses Harlem renaissance poetry, alternating with her own works inspired by them.

I can't wait to use this technique with my middle schooler - it seems to me a less stressful way to dip into poetry and also a way to meditate on a moving poem.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am NOT a fan of poetry most of the time. But I LOVED this collection from Nikki Grimes. I think Golden Shovel poems are genius...definitely want to share these with my kids this spring!
Christy Broderick
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nikki Grimes does an amazing job by taking bits (or all of the lines) of an original poem & turning them into a piece of art using the Golden Shovel method 💕
Maegan (The Slinky Serpent)
With only a few short days left of BHM, I was in the mood for some poetry and decided to borrow the ebook from my local library pick up Nikki Grimes' "One Last Word". I wasn't disappointed.

Now, admittedly, the book is MG, so while I did appreciate and even like some of her poems, most of them were a little childish. This is great for any young black, budding poets with its messages of empowerment and showing that we are not defined by our color or others perceptions but by our actions and our h
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-mg, poetry
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: I was thirteen years old when I read my poetry aloud in front of an audience for the first time.

Premise/plot: Nikki Grimes shares some of her favorite poems from the Harlem Renaissance in her newest book. After sharing the original poem, she follows it with one of her own. All of Grimes' poems are written in the poetry form Golden Shovel.
The idea of a Golden Shovel poem is to take a short poem in its entirety, or a line from that poem (called a striking line), and create a new po
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Master poet Grimes has created a book of poetry that celebrates the poets from the Harlem Renaissance who influenced her. Through her amazing skill, she pays homage to their original poems by creating her own from their words. Using a form called Golden Shovel, she takes lines from their poems and uses them as the final words in the lines of her poems. Both the Harlem Renaissance poetry and Grimes’ speak to the experience of African Americans and for Grimes, African American children and teens. ...more
Sara  Hinchliff
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Renowned children’s and young adult novelist Nikki Grimes shares her love of poetry and the Harlem Renaissance poets who inspired her first childhood writings in this moving collection for grades 5 and up. Grimes has created new poems derived from lines in works by well known poets such as Countee Cullen and Waring Cuney. Sharing modern and classic side by side Grimes connects the artful expression of the Harlem Renaissance to the present black experience.

Grimes includes a thorough description o
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and crafted. Thought provoking line by line. Here are a few lines from the poem, "On Bully Patrol" I wanted to comment on:

Worse yet--again, like--my child tarries
over each assigned task far too long,
ever seeking impossible perfection in
the doing of it. Never mind that the
symmetry she desires is beyond the human depth.
I sigh, recalling the ultimate value of
such doggedness, the strength implied, the
sturdy beauty of a stubborn seed.

I bet Grimes "tarried" over the task of writing
Todd R
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book is a beautiful collection of poems written by Nikki Grimes. Grimes found inspiration for her poems from poets such as Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas, and others of the Harlem Renaissance. Grimes used a poetry form known as the "Golden Shovel" to write the poems. Per Grimes, "The idea of a Golden Shovel poem is to take a short poem in its entirety , or a line from a poem (called a striking line), and create a new poem, using the words from the original" (Page 6). In her poems, you can ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In “One Last Word” poet Nikki Grimes juxtaposes poetry from the Harlem Renaissance with her original poems inspired by the HR poems using a technique called “The Golden Shovel.” Grimes explains the technique and its challenges in the collection’s introduction. Illuminating both her poems and those from the HR are striking works of art.

This is a gorgeous collection that will cause a young generation of readers to fall in love w/ the HR poets. Grimes’s poems inspire me to be a better person, to l
Ranell Cox
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fabulous book to use for black history month or poetry month. It is also a wonderful way to introduce kindness and discussion of our differences and history though poetry. I love the way Nikki Grimes took poetry and made her own from the words of an entire poem or line from a poem. She made a connection of past and present using a style called "Golden Shovel" that I had not heard of. This would make a wonderful poetry lesson and a great idea for creating your own poems. Very well done.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a cool concept that Nikki Grimes has brought to life with this book! I don't think I've read anything like this in recent years, and I really appreciated it. I love that she is bringing light to poetry from the Harlem Renaissance, but also adding her own stories and interweaving them into the older poems. The results are quite beautiful and impressive - especially paired with the gorgeous illustrations. I don't know that every student will flock to this, but poetry lovers and those who enjo ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
I got an eARC of this book from NetGalley but it expired before I sat down to read it :(. But after hearing Nikki Grimes on the All the Wonders podcast, I had to read it. I finally got it from the library, and it is just as awesome as you have probably heard. I am not generally a poetry reader, so I am not an expert by any means, but this book is so moving. Not only will it readers be exposed to a number of Harlem Renaissance poets, but Grimes' original poetry is outstanding. The illustrations a ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A striking collection of poetry that sits some of the classics of the Harlem Renaissance next to Grimes' lovely original work, highlighting exactly how relevant those early poems still are. As interesting as the golden shovel technique is, I feel like it hampered some of the original poems, reaching for awkward narrative shifts in order to fit the structure; a less talented poet couldn't have made this book what it is. A necessary poetry primer.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a great work of poetry. It definitely made me want to try my hand at Golden Shovel poetry--a form where you are inspired by a line of another poem and create a new one using one sentence of the original as inspiration. I loved the interplay of the poems from the Harlem Renaissance and Grimes' interpretation, as well as the illustrations. I could see this being a great read but also great for poetry units.
Katie Lawrence
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Beautifully written poetry inspired by poems written during the Harlem Renaissance. Grimes uses something called the golden shovel method to compose her own poems using words from the Harlem Renaissance poems. Grimes poems are relevant and reflect the themes of the older poetry. I have a really hard time selling poetry to kids/teens. I can usually sell it to their teachers though and this volume with its timeliness and history is a must buy for schools in my opinion.
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