Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Roundup of Golden Shovel Poems in honor of Nikki Grimes' ONE LAST WORD

Congratulations to Nikki Grimes, author of this year's winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award!

It was my pleasure to serve with other esteemed poetry people on the committee to select this award... what a lovely experience it was to talk books and poetry and language and art -- and it was tough, too!

One of the most challenging things about the process is comparing books for young readers to books for older readers... it forces one to set aside individual aesthetics and preferences and really look at each book as a package. We all agreed that ONE LAST WORD is one phenomenal package, filled with beauty, hope, art, and some powerful wordsmithing.

AND, in the year since this book's release, we've seen so many writing Golden Shovel poems! This was not something the committee was charged with recognizing, but it's definitely something I find noteworthy. Here are some links to some Golden Shovel poems by friends in the Poetry Friday community:

Margaret Simon's students using "A Letter in October" by Ted Kooser

more from Margaret and her students

a slew of Poetry Friday Friends at Laura Shovan's blog - Laura's poem is after "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams

Holly Mueller's poem is after "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

Sara Lewis Holmes' poem uses "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manly Hopkins (and also includes links to other Poetry Sisters' Golden Shovels)

Carmelo Martino over at Teaching Authors uses a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks (for other poems honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, see this anthology of Golden Shovels!)

Carol Varsalona uses a quote to create her Golden Shovel

Donna Smith writes after Rupert Brooke's "The Treasure"

Donna Smith uses a Theophrastus quote about time

Linda Mitchell after a photo caption on display at a super cool tiny museum about the Suquamish People of the Pacific Northwest. 

Buffy Silverman using "Tree for All" by Irene Latham (from DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST)

Ruth Hersey writes after a line from Paul Simon

Heidi Mordhorst uses a line from "Making Peace" by Denise Levertov

Kay McGriff using Langston Hughes' "I Dream a World"

Mary Lee Hahn writes after Malvina Reynolds' song "Let it Be"

***Be sure to check out new poems created for Michelle's DMC  March 2018 Challenge here***

...and I know there are so many more! If you'd like your link included, please just share in comments, and I will add them in.
Meanwhile, thank you, Nikki, for this book and and all the ways it has inspired us! (More on how this book inspired ME very soon! :)

Also, big thanks to Lee for creating and supporting this annual award, which we learned isn't going anywhere. Thanks to Lee's generosity, it will continue to recognize and inspire poets for years and years to come!


  1. Guess this needs to be on my list to read now!
    I also wrote a Golden Shovek back in May.
    Then write an acrostic Golden Shivel later based on a quote rather than a line of poetry:
    I’d love to be included in your list!
    Not sure how much I’ll be reading today, recovering from the flu and still coughing and tired. No post today. Have a great week!

  2. I enjoyed writing one, not sure if there's another. One Last Word is a treasure, but she wrote so beautifully, I imagine I need to write many more before I can tackle whole poems. The connections and how she wrapped it all together into the story is very special. Thanks for sharing all these, Irene.

  3. Thank you for reminding me of the shovel poems. Combining my love of playing with words and noticing the words of others, I think I would enjoy writing shovel poetry. But... I've not done so yet. I must put it on my bullet journal tasks page.

  4. I adore One Last Word. When I read it I predicted awards....and I have applauded each one as it has been announced. Nikki Grimes is the kind of writer I aspire to be. I love her work ethic, her sense of play and creativity outside writing and her passion and righteousness on issues in society. I'm sure she's actually "human" but I think she's super.

    When I traveled to a new part of the world last summer I went to a super cool tiny museum about the Suquamish People of the Pacific Northwest. There was an exhibit of the Elwah River and one of the photo captions really struck me and became a golden shovel poem.

  5. Here's a link to a golden shovel I wrote using famous poet Irene Latham's "Tree for All" as a source poem.

  6. Here's mine from a Paul Simon line!

  7. *One Last Word* was our second choice for the Cybils Poetry Award, but only because we knew it would be honored far and wide for its depth, its skill, its monumental importance in the culture. I thank you for your part in making us right about that, Irene!

    Here was my Nikki-inspired Golden Shovel from September...

  8. Hi Irene, Here's a link to my poem FOREVER WE'LL RISE from Maya Angelou's poem STILL I RISE: Sounds like your work was challenging and rewarding too! Thanks for collecting our poems!

  9. I can't wait to read ONE LAST WORD. I did try a Golden Shovel Poem. Here's the link to it--from a line from Langston Hughes' I Dream a World:

    Thank you for gathering all these!

  10. I was so thrilled to see that Nikki's wonderful One Last Word won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award. How fitting and then I saw that you were on the committee when I looked just now. I am excited that Nikki may be in our area to do a school visit. I have two copies of One Last Word. Someone is going to get a really nice gift. Thank you for this great resource, Irene!

  11. My golden shovel from last year's Poetry Month is here:
    Thanks for the roundup!

  12. Hi Irene, I'm late to commenting, but not to this post. :) I had included it in this week's feature with Nikki before you even mentioned it. (It was at the end, so that's probably why you missed it.) Sorry I didn't give you a heads up, but thanks so much for making my job easier and rounding up all these great links! xo

  13. Congratulations to Nikki on this well-deserved honor! One Last Word is a treasure that already has a prominent place in my work with middle school students. I've shared two golden shovels on my blog. The first uses a line from Walt Whitman as the striking line:
    The second is from Laura Shovan's 2017 February challenge using words from the news to inspire poetry:
    Thank you for this wonderful post and your hard work on the selection committee!

  14. Here is another post I missed when it first came around. I was in awe of Nikki Grimes when I spent an evening with her and other poets at the NCTE 17 conference. Thank you, Irene, for sharing the link to my Golden Shovel poem.


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