Friday, April 7, 2017

A Golden Shovel Poem in Honor of Gwendolyn Brooks

On Monday, Esther suggested writing a Golden Shovel poem in honor of poet Gwendolyn Brooks as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month. I have long admired Brooks's poem "We Real Cool." However, even though Brooks and I both grew up in Chicago, I didn't know much about her before reading Esther's post and this bio about her on Chicago's Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy website. According to the Prep Academy bio, Brooks wrote more than 75 poems by the time she was sixteen. While I also wrote lots of poetry in my tween and teen years, I don't believe I came close to that number.

I've been so wrapped in freelance writing and novel editing that I rarely write poetry these days. So I decided to take up Esther's challenge and try my hand at a Golden Shovel poem. I haven't had time to polish it, so please don't judge the poem below too harshly. 😊

My Golden Shovel was inspired by Brooks's poem "Mayor Harold Washington," which begins:    
Mayor. Worldman. Historyman.
Beyond steps that occur and close,
your steps are echo-makers.
I had moved to the suburbs by the time Washington was elected mayor of the city, but his influence was felt throughout the metropolitan area. So I was especially struck by the line:
 your steps are echo-makers
I've used these words as the end words for my poem:

            Baby Steps
                 --after "Mayor Harold Washington" 

            Inspired by your life, your words, your
            Poetry, I take timid baby steps,
            searching for my own words, ones that are
            powerful enough to also be Echo-makers.

                        © Carmela Martino, All rights reserved.

image courtesy of Pixabay
If you missed the explanation of the Golden Shovel form, see Esther's post for details. If it inspires you to write your own Golden Shovel, I hope you'll share it with us in the comments.

By the way, in her post, Esther mentioned that there will be a celebration of The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (University of Arkansas Press) at Chicago's Poetry Foundation this Wednesday, April 12, 2017. You can find details on the Poetry Foundation site.

For more Poetry Month fun, check out this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.

Remember to Write with JOY!


Irene Latham said...

Carmela, I think you did a great job with your Golden Shovel. Thank you for showing how to write with JOY! xo

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Irene!

Kay said...

I like what you did with the form and your poem from Brooks. I, too, hope to write something one day that will be an echo-maker.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Kay. Good luck with your echo-making projects!

Linda B said...

It's both a lovely tribute to Mayor Washington and a wonderful dream poem for you, Carmela. I need to try one of these, suspect they aren't as easy as you've made it. Thanks for the extra links!

Alice Nine said...

Thank you for sharing your Golden Shovel, Carmela. I think this form would be harder to write that it appears at first--starting with the end of the line in mind first. I checked all your links to learn its background. I've been creating found poems and thinking about blackout poems (shared about them in my post this week--Link#24 on Irene's Roundup). The Golden Shovel poem seems of that nature: finding seeds for our poetry in the words of another. I took notes so I can try this one. Again, thank you!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda and Alice. Yes, this form was more challenging than I expected, but it felt good to try a new challenge.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Beautiful response poem, Carmela! I love the Golden Shovel form. It's tricky, but when it falls into place without being forced, what a powerful impact!

Linda Mitchell said...

Wow! I love your golden shovel. I find it a challenge...but this is smooth as silk. echo-makers. What a nice, nice word to play with.

Bobbi Miller said...

I love this: Write with Joy! You are an inspiration!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks so much, Michelle, Linda, and Bobbi.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I love the line you chose, and the idea that we're all striving to be "echo-makers." Well done!