“Throughout this anthology, more than 60 other well-known Brooks poems can be read the same way, with lines from ‘The Mother’ and ‘The Bean Eaters’ tripping down the right-hand side of the page. The anthology ends with ‘Non-Brooks Golden Shovels’ and ‘Variations and Expansions on the Form.’ The cross-section of poets with varying poetics and styles gathered here is only one of the many admirable achievements of this volume.”
—Claudia Rankine, The New York Times, August 2017
“The editors, including tireless poetry advocate Kahn, of this unique, new addition to the Gwendolyn Brooks legacy put together a richly diverse set of poets working with the most unusual and fertile new poetic form created in recent years. National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes invented the Golden Shovel, which he illuminates in his stirring foreword, writing, “Because where do poems come from if not other poems?” In a Golden Shovel poem, the last words in each line are taken from a Brooks poem. A veritable who’s who of contemporary poets tried their hands at this encoded homage, including Billy Collins, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Joy Harjo, Billy Lombardo, Sharon Olds, Alberto Ríos, Tracy K. Smith, and Timothy Yu. Beautifully introduced by Patricia Smith, this is a beguiling and mind-expanding anthology shaped by formal expertise and deep appreciation for the complexity and resonance of Brooks’ work and profoundly nurturing influence. In all, a substantial and dynamic contribution to American literature.”
—Booklist, May 2017
"Gwendolyn Brooks was the first black writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry back in 1950. A new book honors her work in using a form called the golden shovel, developed by poet Terrance Hayes. In The Golden Shovel Anthology, poets select a line from a poem of Brooks’s and use it as the closing line or lines in a poem of their own. The result is an expansive and extraordinary assemblage edited by poets Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith.”
—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe, March 2017
The Golden Shovel Anthology celebrates the life and work of poet and civil rights icon Gwendolyn Brooks through a dynamic new poetic form, the Golden Shovel, created by National Book Award–winner Terrance Hayes.
The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken from a Brooks poem. The poems are, in a way, secretly encoded to enable both a horizontal reading of the new poem and vertical reading down the right-hand margin of Brooks’s original. An array of writers—including Pulitzer Prize winners, T. S. Eliot Prize winners, National Book Award winners, and National Poet Laureates—have written poems for this exciting new anthology: Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Nikki Giovani, Sharon Olds, Tracy K. Smith, Mark Doty, Sharon Draper, and Julia Glass are just a few of the contributing poets.
The poems found here will inspire a diversity of readers, teachers, and writers of poetry while at the same time providing remarkable access for newcomers, making it ideal for classrooms. The Golden Shovel Anthology will also honor Brooks with publication in 2017, the centenary of her birth.
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About the Author
Peter Kahn is a founding member of the London poetry collective Malika’s Kitchen. He is also the founder of the Spoken Word Education Programme at Goldsmiths-University of London, and he directs the Spoken Word program at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He has taught high-school English for many years, where he often uses the Golden Shovel form as a teaching tool.
Ravi Shankar is an award-winning poet, author, translator, and founding editor of Drunken Boat. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, and on NPR and the BBC; and his many books include Language for a New Century, Deepening Groove, and What Else Could It Be.
Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Incendiary Art, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She is a professor at the College of Staten Island and an instructor in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.
Terrance Hayes is the winner of the National Book Award and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. His most recent book is the How to Be Drawn.
Table of ContentsContents Foreword by Terrance Hayes Acknowledgments Introduction The Golden Shovel - Terrance Hayes A Sunset of the City kitchenette building Boy Breaking Glass a song in the front yard The Bean Eaters What There Is to Spend - Hailey Leithauser A Halo for Her Invisible Hair - Rachel Richardson Weather Report - Anne Shaw An Aspect of Love - Renée Watson Stay, Dear - Susan Wheeler Conjunction - Andrew Motion The Parrot Man - Caitlin Doyle The Fava Bean-Eaters - Sandra M. Gilbert At the Evening of Life - Nikki Giovanni Roadside Diner: Fairfield, Maine - Jack Powers Next to the Flatware - Christian Robinson New Year’s Eve in Times Square - Philip Schultz Stand Your Ground - Major Jackson September, Chicago - Angela Narciso Torres Child Tipping Forever - Jenny Boully The Ache - Chelsea Dixon 1972 ford ltd - Quraysh Ali Lansana FUNERAL Sign - Mike Puican After the Eulogy - Kelly Reuter i. Cecil Park—High as the Swings - Debris Stevenson ii. Dutch Pot Dancing - Debris Stevenson Boys Breaking Glass - Catherine Brogan Ornithology - M. Ayodele Heath Behind in the Count - Pam Houston The Second Going - Philip Levine Meadowlands - Erika Meitner When He Doesn’t Come Home - Deb Nystrom Boy Breaking Glass, Peckham - Clare Pollard Vagrant - Emmett, Jim, and Karen Shepard So There - John Corey Whaley Grown Up - Kwame Dawes Yazoo City - Raven Hogue The Maid - Eugene Gloria At the Capitol Hill Suites, 1985 - Maxine Kumin In a Red Hat - Stephanie Strickland Meanwhile in the Henhouse - Rita Williams-Garcia In Little Rock - Jake Adam York Ars Poetica Composed While Dressing in the Dark - Kevin Stein Tender Visits - Liane Strauss What Will We Give Our Children? - Brenda Cárdenas A Neighborhood in Chicago - Reginald Gibbons Play the Song - Laurie Ann Guerrero If Divorce Were Our Concerto - Ruth Ellen Kocher The Inconditions of Love - Shazea Quraishi “Cry, Baby” Garnet Mimms & the Enchanters sang & “The Sky is Crying” - Bruce Smith Women of the Poor - Stephanie Sutton Lost softness softly makes a trap for us - Ronald Wallace Stay - Jericho Brown Two Collisions - Karen Volkman The Explorer - Adrian Matejka First Fight. Then Fiddle. - Lisa Williams Blue Graffiti - Oliver de la Paz The Occasioned Contrition of a Cynic - David Guterson Is Light Enough? - Lloyd Schwartz Is Light Enough? - Matthew Zapruder Non-Commissioned (A Quartet) - Sandra Beasley Amen - Laura Mullen Stand Your Ground - Christina Pugh Omen - Lewis Turco Jessie Mitchell’s Father - Jaswinder Bolina Greatgrandfather’s Woods - Miriam Nash Split Personality - Ugochi Nwaogwugwu Feather and Bone - Gregory Djanikian On My Eyelashes - José Oliveraz Dry Hours - Alicia Ostriker Close Memory - Maya Pindyck Who Has Given Us Life - Sasha Rogelberg Even If We Were Willing - Robert Wrigley Len Bias, a Bouquet of Flowers, and Ms. Brooks - Michael Collier Black, Poured Directly into the Wound - Patricia Smith Variation, the Birth of Lincoln West - Honor Moore Humbug Epithalamium - Traci Brimhall I Do Not Want to Be - Stephen Dunn Storm - Nikki Grimes the little-known bird of the inner eye - Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet Sanctuary - Tana Jean Welch Solitaire - Jane Yolen Of Marriage: River, Lake and Vein - Nicole Cooley Throwing Stones at the All White Pool - Colleen McElroy Cartoon - Alison Hawthorne Deming The Empathy Nest - Nathan Hoks Black Friday - Rachel McKibbens The Left-Hour - Leah Umansky Semi-Splendid - Tracy K. Smith Sentence - Baron Wormser Daughter-Mother - Rachel Contreni Flynn We were gonna go through with it, and then we lost it. - Adam M. Levin Childless Woman - Patricia McCarthy Missing Miss Brooks - Sharon Olds From the Hospital - Kevin Prufer My Own Dead - Joshua Marie Wilkinson The Single Neighbor Threatens My Family - Richard Zabransky Body of a Woman, Tail of a Fish - Ama Codjoe Her Mouth, His Eyes - Andrea Hollander ASEA - Joyelle McSweeney So I Wait - Richard Powers Send Me Home - Bob Shacochis Key to the Dollar Store - Al Young From the Sidelines - Rita Dove Johannesburg 2013 - Jackie Wills The Killer inside Me - John Koethe Exact Change - David Lehman Incarceration Blues - Wesley Rothman Of Gwendolyn Brooks - Jon Davis Some Glowing in the Common Blood - Elizabeth Macklin No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. - Michael Ryan Go - Tara Betts One Wants a Teller in a Time like This - Bob Holman Mary - Amanda Auchter The Hunger - Dominique Christina When Grandma Goes to the Moon - Aaron Samuels Pygmalion Director Wishes to Enliven Production - John Hegley Queen of the Game - Kim Addonizio From Iraq, A Tattoo - Jennifer Perrine Stolen Sonnet - David Baker Gravestones - Asia Calcagno Softer Sounds - Helen Frost Beyond It - Liz Lochhead Brixton Revo 2011 - Roger Robinson Offbeat - Hoa Nguyen Cousin - William Stobb There Are Mornings - Dan Sullivan Sadie and Maud - Florence Ladd Maud and Sadie - Gail Carson Levine Medics - Danielle Cadena Deulen Advice from Ms. Brooks, With Elaborations - Mark Doty Reflections on Invictus - Cherise A. Pollard Bigly in the Wild Weed - Maureen Seaton A Parable of Sorts - Malika Booker A Peek at the Back - John Burnside Gap-Toothed Woman - Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie Our Home - Lindsay Hunter Troubled - Angela Johnson Statue - Jon Sands back yard song - Diane Seuss song in the back yard - Evie Shockley Careful the Blood - Jeanann Verlee Somewhere where - Fred Wah Deployed - Nick Lantz Breaking House - Michele Parker Randall Moon - Timothy Yu Bird-Feeder - Marilyn Nelson The Artist - Raymond Antrobus Third Infidelity - Hannah Srajer Pasted to Stars Already - Oni Buchanan Strong Men, Riding Horses - Tishani Doshi The Strong Strong Men Riding Strong Strong Horses after the West - Douglas Kearney One Night Stand - Teri Cross Davis note to the unconceived - Marty McConnell Judas - Lawrence Raab The Narcissist Breaks Up - Ravi Shankar For Gwendolyn Brooks - Dara Wier The sun had dimmed already - Maxine Chernoff Somerset - Daniel Donaghy A circle finds its way and - Percival Everett Twang they. And I incline this ear to tin. - Fanny Howe Lapse - Dorianne Laux Just a Friend after Sunset - E. Ethelbert Miller Golden Shovel - Kamilah Aisha Moon One Day Soon - Linda Pastan Travel Literature - Fiona Sampson Already - Lee Upton Avow - Julie Marie Wade Cold Sore - Danielle Zipkin Over and Over and All - Eleanor Wilner Necessarily - Yona Harvey Two Poems for Alec - Julia Glass Hotel Lobby, April Evening - Maura Snell To Be in Love - Tony Trigilio She never saw life as hard - Sharon G. Flake Oath - Bob Hicok What I would ask of Manman Brigitte* after seeing the African Burial Ground - Camara Brown The dark hangs heavily - Chris Haven True & False - Ellen Doré Watson Truth - Indigo Williams Memento Mori - Philip Gross The Lot, Vacant Then - Francine J. Harris 1950: Norco, Louisiana - Mary Calvin Parisian Shuffle - Stuart Dischell Because it looked hotter that way - Camille T. Dungy An American Sunrise - Joy Harjo How Cool Are We? - Ellen Hopkins The Old NZ - Gahl Liberzon Hansel in College - Tyler Mills Cool Kids - Dorothy Moore Thanks to Miss Brooks - Sharon Olds The Golden Shovel (to bury the ghost) - Haley Patail Kriolising Kulcha - Kadija Sesay Jessie from the Golden Shovel - Mags Webster We, the Basij - Sholeh Wolpé Orb-Weaver Spiders, In Early Spring - Brenda Hillman Before That Sunday - Marcus Sedgwick A Love Story - Leona Sevick Places Never Gathered - Dan Beachy-Quick She Shall Not Be - Wang Ping Neo-Afronaut Anthem - Dexter L. Booth The Real Cool - Kimiko Hahn Golden Shovel - Hana Beachy-Quick On the other side of that window - Curtis Crisler Last Night On Earth We Go to Wendy’s - Kendra DeColo It takes so little - Sharon Dolin Sky Burial - Nick Flynn Death in Brain - Ian Khadan Middle Dreams - Toni Asante Lightfoot At Johnnie’s after Basketball Practice - Billy Lombardo The Shepherd . . . - Nick Makoha The Road to Wales - Blake Morrison Immigrant - John O’Connor Square de la Place Dupleix - Pascale Petit Headway - Dorothea Smartt Robert Johnson’s Double-Edged Shovel - David St. John Poem with Endwords by Reginald Shephard - Jean Valentine Of Ownership - Karen McCarthy Woolf pedagogy of a whoopin - Avery R. Young Double Golden Shovel - Raphael Allison Behind the Scenes - Julia Alvarez Morning (a twisted shovel) - Ellen Bass Frijolero Ex-Pats - Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor Golden Shovel Borrowed from Derek Walcott and Gwendolyn Brooks - Fred D’Aguiar The Devil’s Own - Calvin Forbes When a Grief Has Come - David Gilmer Outside St. Dominic’s Priory. Snapshot, July 2015. - Keith Jarrett People Who Have No Children Can Be Hard - A. Van Jordan Selected Psalms from the Book of Brooks - Amit Majmudar The Art of the Stroke: - Molly Peacock Net - Tom Sleigh Father - Jacinda Townsend A Private Service Announcement - Buddy Wakefield That’s Mr. Robert Johnson to You - Tyrone Williams Afterword Title Index Author Index