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Posts Tagged ‘Words with Wings’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Irene at Live your Poem! She is gathering a celebration of poet Nikki Grimes.

If memory serves me correctly, I first learned of Nikki Grimes’ work when I bought this book, Words with Wings, at the recommendation of a colleague who knew of my passion for poetry and novels in verse. I brought it home with me this summer for inspiration for writing my own novel-in-verse. Who knows if that will come to fruition, but when I opened the book, this is what I saw:

“May your dreams take flight,” Nikki Grimes.

How’s that for messages from the universe?

Today, Poetry Friday is celebrating Nikki Grimes. I’ve had the privilege to see her at NCTE a few times. Last year, I sat at her table for the Children’s Literature Luncheon where each one of us received a singed copy of Ordinary Hazards, her memoir in verse. I’ve read and listened to this book and have used it as inspiration for my students, too.

I use Nikki’s poetry time and time again to inspire writing with my students. In Words with Wings, there are a number of poems that begin with “Say”. One of them is Butterfly.

from Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes, 2013 Wordsong

Last month I was creating instructional videos for an open channel station that was airing teacher-made videos for students learning at home. I created one around this poem. In doing so, I created a draft of a poem of my own as a model for writing “after Nikki Grimes.”

Margaret Simon, draft

Poets like Nikki give children courage to be writers. Her gentle way of writing the truth echoes in the hearts of young people. If you are looking for a model poem for young writers, turn to Nikki Grimes. Her next book release is exciting to me. Legacy: golden shovel poems inspired by words of Harlem Renaissance Women Poets. It releases in January, 2021. I hope by then I’ll see Nikki again and add another signed book to my collection.

Instructional video on Say Butterfly by Nikki Grimes.

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