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Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  62 reviews
From Children's Literature Legacy Award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes a feminist-forward new collection of poetry celebrating the little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance--paired with full-color, original art from today's most talented female African-American illustrators.

For centuries, accomplished women--of all races--have fallen out of the historical recor
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
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Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
This rating/review is based an advanced copy from Netgalley and Bloomsbury Children's Books.

This book is absolutely tremendous! I read Nikki Grimes' One Last Word a few years ago and I was really impressed by the poetic form, but it felt a bit uneven. This collection uses that same poetic form and completely blew me away. Every single poem is so strong and the source material Grimes is working from is incredible. I am absolutely going to look up every single one of these poets and read more of t
Alicia (PrettyBrownEyeReader)
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, netgalley, 2020
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 t
Tina Athaide
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a treasure and introduces readers to the many outstanding women of the Harlem Renaissance. Nikki Grimes combines poetry from the Harlem Renaissance with her own poetry to create a story of a girl discovering forgotten African American women poets . What makes this collection unique is that Grimes uses the Golden Shovel method to create her own poems while also introducing other forms of poetry. The Golden Shovel method is where you take a short poem in its entirety, or a line or wor ...more
Michelle Glatt
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Reviewing for SLC--more on this excellent poetry book later
Afoma Umesi
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for an eARC of this book (my first Nikki Grimes's) via Netgalley!
Ms. Yingling
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

I'm super picky about poetry; really, the only modern poet I really like is Timothy Steele, who uses formulaic verse brilliantly. Naomi Shahib Nye is another one whose work I like (Amaze Me was fantastic), and I'm going to have to add Grimes' Legacy to this list.

This is an interesting concept in poetry. Not only does Grimes collect poems from women writers who flourished during the Harlem Renaissance, she then takes the poems and writes her own in the "Golden Shovel" f
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First sentence from the preface: For centuries, accomplished women, of all races, have fallen out of the historical records. In the music realm, for example, we’ve long known and lauded the name and compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but few are familiar with his equally gifted sister, Maria Anna Mozart, an accomplished instrumentalist and composer in her own right. In the sciences, we were taught the names of astronauts like John Glenn, but few could recite the names of early NASA scienti ...more
4.5 rounded up.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this work to review.

This book took a different turn than I expected, I had anticipated it being entirely poetry written during the Harlem Renaissance. Instead the poetry of the author was interspersed with poetry from women during the Harlem Renaissance and when I found this rhythm I discovered that it was an excellent way to cross past and present.

The poems feel relevant and fresh, and the way the two work together increases t
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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,
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This young reader book is about the little known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The author uses The Golden Shovel method to create her poems based on the poems of these women. I love that each poem has an illustration from female African American illustrators.
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
As an intriguing exercise in poetry, this volume hits the mark. I can't wait to show it to the teacher in my school who teaches poetry and runs the poetry club. Nikki's use of the "Golden Shovel" technique of writing poems using words from others' poems is something that will feel very accessible to our high school students. That being said, Nikki described the Golden Shovel technique as using each word chosen from one line of another's poem as the last word in a line of original poetry; it does ...more
Mark Robison
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When I read the introduction to this book, I thought there was no way it could work. The author shows a poem from an obscure female poet of the Harlem Renaissance (around the 1920s) and then includes a poem she wrote that was inspired by the first poem. Only her poem isn't just inspired by the first one, it's almost like a baton-pass to future generations. She takes a line from the previous poem and then uses each word from that line in order but not next to each other in her new poem. I'm not s ...more
Pine Reads Review
“Time you learn / a little history. / The women in our race / have always gone / from strength to strength. / Let me introduce you to / a few women who can teach you / what I mean.” (From “Opening Poem” by Nikki Grimes)

Experience the largely unsung voices of the women poets of the Harlem Renaissance in this new collection of breathtaking poetry from Nikki Grimes. Despite their unparalleled artistry and brilliance, these women have seldom been met with the same visibility as their male counterpar
Cheriee Weichel
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 w
Mia | The Bookish Feminist
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nikki Grimes has done it again! "Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance" is a stunning collection of poems written by people whose voices are all too often left out of our discussion and exploration of the Harlem Renaissance. The women of the Harlem Renaissance have not been taught or highlighted as much as their male counterparts, a mirror of so many different elements of our society. Nikki Grimes set out to curate a collection of works from women who were part of this movement of writer ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance is a beautiful book--a testament to the creativity of Black women both past and present. Nikki Grimes has gathered a beautiful collection of poems by 15 Black female poets from the Harlem Renaissance, poets largely erased from the greater literary canon. These poems are in turns haunting, inspiring, heart-breaking, and hopeful. Families. Nature. Death. Life. Creation. I was constantly picking my jaw up off the floor and wiping tears from my eyes. The ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Young women of color may be the prime target audience of this resoundingly energetic and uniquely focused poetry collection, but readers of all ages and ethnicities will rejoice at the richness of the voices of the lesser-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance featured here, and celebrate them all. Each poem of one of the aforementioned poetesses is accompanied by a lyrical 21st-century complementary poem by the esteemed Ms. Grimes herself, using a literary device I had never heard of befor ...more
Becky B
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 the
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stunning and awe-inspiring, this forthcoming collection of brilliant women poets and illustrators will have you savouring every word and brush stroke. In LEGACY: WOMEN POETS OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE (January 5, 2021), Nikki Grimes brings the magnificently talented women poets of the Harlem Renaissance to the forefront by sharing their poems which served as her inspiration for her own poetry using “The Golden Shovel” form. After providing an introduction to the history of the time period and its ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What beautiful poems, both the originals by the "should be famous" Harlem Renaissance poets as well as Nikki Grimes excellent Golden Shovel reinterpretations of them. As a children's librarian, I am already well familiar with Ms. Grimes work and I am a real fan of her talent. Yet, I am also an English major - so how is it I've never heard of any of these wonderful female poets from the Harlem Renaissance? I am honestly not a poetry fan, yet I truly enjoyed each of these pieces and wonder why I'v ...more
This labor of love is phenomenal: Grimes highlights the often-sidelined female poets who made significant contributions during the Harlem Renaissance. Building on the works of these poets, she intersperses her own Golden Shovel poems, as she did in her companion volume One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance.

Grimes grounds her readers’ knowledge of the significance of these women’s contributions, opening her preface with, “For centuries, accomplished women, of all races, have fallen o
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I grew up on the poetry of Langston Hughes which introduced me to the Harlem Renaissance, but until I read this book I wasn't aware of the gap in my knowledge. I didn't know any of the female poets Grimes highlights.

The varieties of poetic styles and language are given a unity by the accompanying poems written by Grimes, using the poetic form, the Golden Shovel, that she used previously in her book One Last Word.

Each set of poems (one by a writer from the Harlem Renaissance, one by Grimes) is i
Deb Aronson
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a Nikki Grimes fan, let me just put that out there. Her kind of verse made me understand that I could like poetry, I could "get" it. This current book also resonates with me because she is spotlighting the work of little-known women, creative Black women who just didn't get recognized because of the societal structures of not paying attention to women. AND she takes each poem by one of these women, takes her favorite line and creates a "Golden Shovel" poem from those words. It looks decepti ...more
Jennifer Margeson
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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, i ...more
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*I was sent an e-arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

4.5 stars rounded up.

The creativity here was incredible! Nikki Grimes highlighted female poets during the Harlem Renaissance and created her own poetry using a method called Golden Shovel Poetry.

Grimes explains that this form of poetry is to take a prominent inspirational line or lines and then craft your own poetry using those words. I have never read anything like it!

The Artwork included is STUNNING.

My favorite poem was by
Angie Simmonds
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Legacy is an anthology of poems by black women and author and poet Nikki Grimes' accompanying Golden Shovel poetry based on those works.

I had never heard of most of these female black poets so I really appreciated the biographies of each poet she included at the end of the book so I could familiarize myself with them a little more.

Some of the poems had such beautiful imagery (Of Earth by Mae V. Cowdery), some were heartbreaking (Unseen by Gertrude Parthenia Mc Brown as well as Flag Salute by Est
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books through NetGalley.
Grimes shares poetry from women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. In support of each poet, she shares her own poem in "The Golden Shovel" format using lines from each woman's poem. A look at history and a beautiful tribute to the timeless power of poetry. The emotions leap off the pages as readers see the struggles and joys in the past and present, and, sadly, how some things have not changed in the intervening ye
Annie Burge
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Nikki Grimes. I enjoy her books of poetry, as well as her novels in verse. I know that the golden shovel type of poetry is very hard so knowing this the poems stand out even more in their beauty. I love that she is introducing Black women from the Harlem Renaissance because I am sure many are unknown to children and adults alike. I enjoyed seeing the poems she took her lines and inspiration from for her own poetry. I also loved the art work by Black women artists. As I turned ...more
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