Friday, May 18, 2012

My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry



My seven year old is nuts about poetry these days. He has been checking out the same anthology of poems from the school library every week for about three months. I am so glad the school librarian is Ok with that! It's an old tattered thick book that has seen better days. The illustrations are nothing to sneeze at. Some of us would have replaced it long ago. I am willing to bet he is the only one to check it out in years. But now it's one of the popular books making the rounds of his friends because he is so excited about it and they can't stand not being in the loop!

Since he is so into poetry I have been gathering all the children's poetry books in the house to share with him during our evening story time. One slim volume I really love is Arnold Adoff's collection My Black Me: a beginning book of black poetry, edited by Arnold Adoff. (Dutton Children's Books, 1984.) He has gathered poems by Lucille Clifton, Kali Grosvenor, Langston Hughes, Don L. Lee, Ted Joans, Sonia Sanchez, Ray Petterson, Nikki Giovanni, Norman Jordan, Sam Cornish, and others. They are delightful, poignent, spicy, surprising and satisfying.






Here is one of my favorites by Dorothy Long:

Where my grandmother lived
there was always sweet potato pie
and thirds on green beans and
songs and words of how we'd
survived it all.
Blackness.
And the wind
a soft lull
in the pecan tree
whispered
Ethiopia
Ethiopia, Ethiopia
E-th-io-piaaaaa!

Sigh.

The introduction by Adolf says, "This book of Black is for you. Black poems for Black sisters and brothers. Black poems for all sisters and brothers. Of every race. Every open face. Poems that help you know your inside faces. Your human pieces put together strong and fine. Human poems."

I love this book!

Friday Poetry is being rounded up by Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Enjoy this lovely May wonder day!

8 comments:

jama said...

Love that poem, and the fact that your son is into poetry! Yes! Every open face. Human poems. Will look for that book. :)

Tabatha said...

That's great that your son is sharing his excitement about poetry with his friends! I went to a high school awards ceremony this morning and the awardees were all kids who were living with zest -- kids who were excited about something, who would delve deeply into whatever mattered to them. Sounds like your son :-)

Lone Star Ma said...

Sounds lovely.

Ruth said...

My kids love poetry too. Sometimes we have a poetry night and they fight over who gets to read next. Isn't it great? I hope they always feel that way about poems.

Linda at teacherdance said...

It's wonderful to hear about your son loving poetry & checking out that same book. I wonder what page started that love? And your suggested book by Adoff sounds terrific, too. I will look to see if we have it at school.

Mary Lee said...

LOVE it that your boy is poetry-crazy! Feed it while it lasts. It may stop showing its face, but he will be forever changed by this...it is making him into the person he was meant to be. How fun for you in the coming years to see where this piece of his puzzle connects to the whole!

Liz Steinglass said...

I love that this is where his grandfather "lived" and the wind whispering Ethiopia. I have to think what the wind in the trees whispers to me. Thank you for sharing this poem and this book.

Liviania said...

Oh, that is a terrific poem.

It's cool that your son convinced his friends to read a book of poetry soon.