Shhh.... Is she here yet?
Under the direction of amazing poet and my dear friend Irene Latham, we're having a **Ta-da! Celebration!** for Nikki Grimes for Poetry Friday today! Seems the pandemic has kept awards ceremonies from being held in person, and Nikki just keeps getting awards. So we're lifting our virtual cups and glasses in Nikki's honor.
I've had the good fortune of crossing paths with Nikki at a conference or two over the years, and I was delighted that she not only attended my Found Poem Collage Makerspace workshop at Poetry Camp out in Washington a few years ago, but she embraced every creative challenge and also kindly shared with me some photos she took. Nikki is a visual artist on many fronts, and I love the cross-pollination that happens between her writing and her making.
[I've been thinking of that wonderful weekend this week, as I'm leading a virtual version of this workshop for the Pat Conroy Literacy Center's "Conroy Camp" for young writers next week. I prepared crafting kits to send in the mailing to each student, and they'll have access to my how-to video going up on Monday. Then, we'll "meet" together via computer on Wednesday.]
But I digress. If you know anything about Nikki, you already know her talents do NOT stop with the period at the end of a printed sentence. (See some of her artwork at the "Grimes Gallery" section of her website.)
I'm always enjoying the gorgeous photos Nikki is sharing online, many from her garden. She often features new photography at her website, too, in "Notes from Nikki."
I dug up an interview I did with Nikki back in 2012, in which she discussed her writing and her artistic endeavors, among other topics. It was for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA), and it's still up, here:
In that post, I received permission to share a poem from Bronx Masquerade. [I'm hoping you won't mind, Nikki, my sharing it here again?] This poem not only reveals Nikki's ear for the musicality of words, it shines with her eye for the visually beautiful as well. And yet, like her work across several genres for young readers, it still speaks with the rich voice and heart of a young person making her way in the world.
By Lupe Algarin
I walk by a mirror,
catch my eye,
wonder at the universe
Past the flashing eyes
is a file
for yesterday's sunset
dripping mango light,
for Papi's laughter
tinkling in my
so many years gone by,
shed below a crucifix
on my wall.
I sort it all out,
store it under
"been there, done that"
and open a clean drawer
a place to store adventures
I'm still learning
©Nikki Grimes. All rights reserved.
In another book, Words With Wings, main character Gabby ponders whether she might be both a dreamer and a maker, in a very short poem called, "Maybe." There's no doubt that for Gabby's creator, that answer is YES.
Nikki received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2006, and if you missed it, here's the link to the Spotlight interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins (still miss him so) at Renée LaTulippe's No Water River blog.
Enjoy more Nikki Grimes celebrations today over at Live Your Poem, where Irene is rounding up these posts and other poetic inspirations this week.