Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Bloomsbury. Jan. 2021. 144p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781681199443.
Gr 7 Up–Grimes spotlights the work of lesser-known Black women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The book begins with an explanation of the Harlem Renaissance and Golden Shovel poems. The collection is divided into three parts: “Heritage,” “Earth Mother,” and “Taking Notice.” Golden Shovel poetry uses “a short poem in its entirety, or a line from the poem, called a striking line.” The poem or striking line is then used “to create a new poem using the words from the original.” Most of Grimes’s poems incorporate lines of text or the entirety of a short poem into each verse. The text of the featured poet, which is used to create the new poem, is highlighted in bold type. The juxtaposition of Grimes’s poetry and the original works provide a compelling reflection on gender, race, politics, and everyday life. Full-page, vibrant illustrations rendered by a variety of artists are included throughout, such as a woman whose head is a volcano for Lucy Ariel Williams’s “Prelude” and “Slow Burn” by Grimes. Educators should note that the poem “Flag Salute” by Esther Popel describes lynching. Back matter includes brief biographies of the poets and artists, an index, and a list of sources.
VERDICT A striking collection of voices, who examine and celebrate the experience of Black women from the past and present. An excellent introduction to Black women writers who were ignored by history.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing