Poetry Friday: Finding Light with Nikki Grimes

At NCTE last November, I had the pleasure of sitting with Nikki Grimes at her table at the Children’s Book Award Luncheon. Everyone at the table received a copy of her extraordinary verse memoir, Ordinary Hazards (WordSong, 2019). I have long been a fan of Nikki’s poetry, but reading the story of her childhood and teen years left me with a deeper admiration for Nikki.

Recently, Irene Latham announced that she wanted to celebrate Nikki Grimes when she hosted Poetry Friday today. Irene said,

Nikki has won all kinds of awards lately, and due to covid, there haven’t been in-person events, so this gives us all an opportunity to say:

I knew immediately that I wanted to write a Golden Shovel to honor Nikki. This is a form Nikki made popular through her stunning book, One Last Word, using the words and “wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance” for her strike lines. Nikki’s poetry abounds with gorgeous language and words of wisdom, but I thought these lines, from the end of Ordinary Hazards, would speak to us all during our troubled times.

Thank you, Nikki Grimes, for sharing your light with us. And thank you, Irene, for hosting today’s celebration of this amazing woman.

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Finding Light with Nikki Grimes

  1. Catherine, I love this poem for what it says…truth! And, because it is so strongly your voice. I hear you in these words. I’m one fortunate friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful golden shovel that not only honors the line from Nikki Grimes, but transforms it into a poem of hope, something we all need desperately. Catherine, your gentle way with words is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nikki’s Ordinard Hazards is so inspiraional and for these recent times, you’ve found a beautiful way to broaden her message, Catherine. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine, your golden shovel turned into a poem of hope that brings a call to action at the end. There are many inspirational thoughts at the end. I truly hope everyone searches their heart to never let the light out of and go back to America be the land of the free.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely! And yours is the second PF post I’ve read by someone who was sitting at that table! I hope you said hi to each other! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

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