Friday, September 12, 2008


Hello all and welcome to Poetry Friday. Mr. Linky is down below to add your link.

But first, I have a review of Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni

So, this is an anthology of poetry, hip hop, and sermons, showing the evolution of the spoken word with rhythm and using rhythm to best spread the word.

It's beautifully illustrated by multiple artists and contains a wide range of poets--Langston Hughes, Queen Latifah, Sugar Hill Gang, W.E.B. Du Bois, Kanye West, Walter Dean Meyers, and Maya Angelou and more.

The best part is the included CD. I have long loved Gwendolyn Brooks's "The Pool plays: Seven and the Golden Shovel" but never knew how to read the rhythm of her punctuation and line breaks

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We...

And I never thought I'd see "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang in a children's book. This is one of those tracks that helped define hip hop. (And you might know it as the song that the old lady rapped in The Wedding Singer

I said a hip hop the hippie to the hippie
the hip hip hop, a you dont stop

the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie

Some things are texts we think of as for adults--"The Creation," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "The Song of Smoke," and some are things we tend to associate with children--"Books" and "Principal's Office."

I'm not a fan of all the poems, but many are ones I love.

But the CD... hearing Langston Hughes introduce and then read his work is amazing. There are also some interpretations of songs. I wasn't a fan of the rap of "I Have a Dream"--I liked the concept, but not the execution. But, the hamboning version of "The Pool players" and Josephine Cameron's sung version of Sterling Brown's "Long Track Blues" are tracks I can listen to over and over again.

I highly recommend this one for all collections. If the title didn't include the word "children" it'd be an excellent book all the way to high school. My coworkers and I are already talking about doing a Hip Hop poetry story time for our elementary school kids. The only question is if we wait until April (Poetry Month) or go ahead and do it now. Well, do it in October, when the book comes out, but pre-order today.

full disclosure: book provided by publisher

NOW! I want to read your poems! Leave your link below!


John Mutford said...

I have to have that book.

Good thing there's a cd. My kids do not need to hear daddy rapping. (Though, I'm secretly disappointed.)

My review of Haiku Mama is here:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your review. What a neat concept -- and I love that the cd is included as a complement to the words on the page.

I'm hailing from my new blog this morning. Thanks for hosting today!

Michele said...

Hiya! Thanks for hosting the round up this week. I am in.

Tricia said...

Hi Jennie,
I'm in today with some Yeats.

Thanks for rounding us up!

Andrea -- Just One More Book!! Podcast said...

Thanks for rounding us up.

Today Mark&I chat about "But If They Do.." a fabulous rhyming book based on the "Don't let the bedbugs bite".

Stay tuned at the end of our chat for an unexpected and cheeky voice mail from Mo Willems!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting! I'm in with 15 Words or Less poems written in response to an image at

And this sounds great. Is it by the same people who did Poetry Speaks and Poetry Speaks to Children? I love those! Going to go try to put it on order at my library now.

And I vote for a hip hop storytime in October! When it's a raging success, you can always do another one (or, you know, a whole month of them) in April:>)

eisha said...

Hey, Jennie! I just got my review copy of Hip Hop Speaks... Now I'm really looking forward to reading it.

7-Imp is in with some Basho haiku. Thanks for hosting!

Sara said...

Hey, Jennie!

If you decide on a hip-hop storytime, you've got to blog about it! This book sounds too good not to share widely.

I'm in today with a lesser-known Robert Frost poem, "Bond and Free."

tanita✿davis said...

Hi, thanks for hosting, Jennie!
I'm in with a bit of Yeats.

jama said...

This book and CD set sounds like a must-have, and good Christmas gift-list choice. Thanks for featuring it and for hosting today, Jennie!

Today I'm in with "The Avalanche Club" by Heather Christle:

Author Amok said...

The book looks great. Thanks for reviewing it.

I'm blogging about Beowulf. If you hated the recent movie, you'll love the video clip of Benjamin Bagby perforing the epic in Old English, accompanied by Anglo Saxon Harp.

Author Amok said...

Whoops -- the link:

david elzey said...

I first came across "Seven at the Golden Shovel" on a bus, one of those Poetry in Motion things. I loved the rhythm, how easy it was to memorize during a single buss ride, and that it was reaching its audienc at the same time. Good to see it back out there again.

I've got some limeraiku going down at my place this week. Thanks for hosting!

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for doing the Poetry Friday Roundup this week!

At Wild Rose Reader, I have an original poem about pudding and a link to Wislawa Szymborska's poem "Photograph from September 11," which I posted yesterday.

At Blue Rose Girls I have another poem by Szymborska entitled "Hunger at Camp Jaslo."

Jim Danielson said...

Jennie, thanks for hosting!

I'm in with an original on the political front -- and what the medea is dwelling on.

Anonymous said...

Hey hostess! Thanks for doing today's roundup.

I'm quoting the White Queen from Through the Looking Glass.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks for hosting, Jennie! I'm in this week with a poem by Jane Kenyon, and some thoughts about happiness and John Keats.

mbpbooks said...

I'm so grateful for the way our political process showcases freedom of expression to the planet.

In honor of writers behind bars, I'm sharing OBLIVION, a poem by Zargana, imprisoned again last June in Burma for the crime of comedy.

Thanks for hosting, Jennie.

Josephine Cameron said...

Thanks for reviewing the book, and for the nice mention of "Long Track Blues"...I have yet to see the finished book, but I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I've loved the Brooks poem since first reading it in high school. I don't know who reads the poem in "Hip Hop", but I love her own recitation of it here, which I discovered last year,

Thanks for rounding up, Jennie. I'm in with an old chestnut from Beatrice Curtis Brown,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting! I just got Hip Hop Speaks to Children in Wednesday's mail, but haven't had a chance to read it (or listen to the CD yet). I'm looking forward to it. Although I was a bit confused to see what some of the selections in the book and on the CD were (and who they were read by). Do I think it's cool to listen to Langston Hughes read his own poem? Yeah. But I really expected to have, I dunno, Diddy read it to me. Or something.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...


I'm in with a poem by Leigh Hunt (and a parody thereof).

Jennie said...

laurasale--yep! It's the same people who did that other ones. I highly recommend it!

Josephine--thanks for stopping by! Your work on "Long Track" is fantastic.

Becky-- there are 2 tracks for "The Pool Players" one is Brooks reading it and the other is Nikki Giovanni and some other readers (sorry! not in front of me!) hamboning it. It's pretty cool. I also fell in love with this poem in high school English, but I never knew how to read it. So often we're taught to follow the punctuation and don't do a full stop at the end of line breaks. So, following that logic, you'd read it as

We real cool.
We left school.

But, then why did Brooks break the line where she did? It was so awesome to hear her read it as she meant it to be read. And that last line, without the "We"? Jarring and wonderful.

Kelly-- Diddy reading Langston Hughes would be awesome. However, I do like the mix of Langston Hughes reading his own work followed by Queen Latifah doing hers-- it shows the evolution of the spoken word culture really well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting. I'm in with an original acrostic. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm a fan of HIP HOP too, as well as the other Sourcebook poetry collections with accompanying CDs. Thanks for the review and for hosting!

I'm in this week with a review of Francisco Alarcon's ANIMAL POEMS.

Anonymous said...

My first Poetry Friday from the blog of Ellsworth (a 54-year-old stuffed elephant) and Winchester (a 16-pound black and white cat) and sometimes The Writer (of children's books). We posted "From a Railway Carriage" by Stevenson.

Glad to be aboard and thanks for hosting!

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

I'm in with a short post about James Marshall's edition of The Owl and the Pussycat, and included the opening lines of Lear's unfinished sequel ("The children of..."). Thanks for hosting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting! I'll be looking forward to seeing the hip hop book when it gets to our library!