Today I have a different sort of an art book for you. It’s the art of words, words in poetry that can touch you heart and elicit emotions and conversation, that can have a child go “meh” and a mom go “I like this one”. (and have the reverse happen). A book of verse containing works of art that cause a boy to say “I like that one mom”.
This type of art is also good. 🙂
So let me then tell you of this book “One Last Word”.
This book is a tribute to the Harlem Renaissance poets. Quite honestly I had NO idea what the Harlem Renaissance was, but the beauty and the imagery found within these poems had me searching for what it was. According to History.com “Spanning the 1920s to the mid-1930s, the Harlem Renaissance was a
literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that kindled a new black
cultural identity. Its essence was summed up by critic and teacher Alain
Locke in 1926 when he declared that through art, “Negro life is seizing
its first chances for group expression and self determination.” Harlem
became the center of a “spiritual coming of age” in which Locke’s “New
Negro” transformed “social disillusionment to race pride.” Chiefly
literary, the Renaissance included the visual arts but excluded jazz,
despite its parallel emergence as a black art form.“
So a time when people of Negro descent were learning to take pride in who they were and not be beaten down by their past. If you want to learn more…read more from The History site.
I read this poem in particular, and books like the Book of Negroes pops into my head, and I can imagine that pride of remembering who you are, and the carefulness of remembering where you have been. How hard it must have been to separate the two.
Many of the poems in this book touched my heart…the art work and poems take up 94 pages in a 120 page book, hardcover. The remaining pages are biographies of the poets and artists.
94 pages of beauty … some with hurt felt…but mostly of the joy and pride of a person or people recognizing who they are. Some see God in the picture, others don’t.
Three sections: Emergency Measures has seven poems. Calling Dreams has 14 poems and To a Dark Girl has 9 poems.
The poem “We Wear the Mask” made me think of more than just negroes who suffered but all the different people who struggle with hidden issues, hurts and sorrows, mental or physical frailities, but not wanting to diminish the pain of the black folks who suffered so. Just made me think beyond you know what I mean?
So much beauty in words and images, chances to see inside the soul of another person.. it is good, you know? Art! In its own way.
I thought I would leave you with one more poem to intrigue your heart.
IF you are learning about black history… do take in this book as it’s important part to consider. If you like poignant poetry, or are searching for poems for your child to memorize, get this book. It’s a great book of poetry and should you get your child intrigued, could provoke conversation…or just be nice to listen to! 🙂 you will find my affiliate links below, thank you for your support.