This week I’ve been enthralled with Nikki Grime’s One Last Word. The book reintroduces poems from the Harlem Renaissance. Nikki, in turn creates new ‘golden shovel’ poems developed from one line in each of the poems featured.
Here is one example from the book:
Calling All Dreams
by Georgia Douglas Johnson
The right to make my dreams come true
I ask, nay, I demand of life,
Nor shall fate’s deadly contraband
Impede my steps, nor countermand.
Too long my heart against the ground
Has beat the dusty years around,
And now, at length, I rise, I wake!
And stride into the morning-brake!
Nikki Grimes took the first line from this poem, The right to make my dreams come true, and created a new golden shovel poem from it.
by Nikki Grimes
No accident of birth or race or place determines the
scope of hope or dreams I have a right
to. I inventory my head and heart to
weigh and measure what talents I might use to make
my own tomorrow. It all depends on the grit at my
disposal. My father says hard work is the clay dreams
are molded from. Yes. Molded. Dreams do not come.
They are carved, muscled into something solid, something true.
This is a new poetry form for me, and I find it very challenging, but when it’s done so well, as in One Last Word, it can be beautiful.
If you would like to attempt your own, you can read more about golden shovel poetry here.