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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
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2 stars: OK
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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance: 12/02/17

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes is a collection of poetry from and inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. The foreword explains the starting point, Langston Hugh's poem "Mother to Son," which she originally thought was called "No crystal stair" for the repetition of that imagery at the start and finish of the poem.

The book is a mixture of new and old poetry. Mother to Son is one of the older poems included in the mix, for anyone not immediately familiar with it.

Many of Grimes's new poems included bolded words at the end of each line. When those lines are read by themselves, they form a shorter, pithier takeaway for the poem. At first these messages are short statements about being strong, about resisting, about pride and self worth even in the current state of affairs.

But they build to longer, self contained poems. The book closes on a reprise of Mother to Son, written in the voice of a now much older woman. When the ending words in each line are read, they are the original "Mother to Son."

Five stars

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