Sunday, April 29, 2018

ARTSPEAK! Harlem Renaissance Poem "Hazel Scott at the Piano"

Welcome to day #29 of 2018 ARTSPEAK!, in which I am focusing on art and artists from the Harlem Renaissance. 
Before we get to today's poem, please be sure and visit April at Teaching Authors to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Today I'm continuing my Harlem Renaissance poetry project with a look at photographer James Van Der Zee. (One more day to go! Woohoo!) James started fooling around with a camera at age fourteen, and he went on to become the most famous portrait photographer in Harlem. He was known for his portraits of African American New Yorkers -- both prominent people and "regular" people. Read more about James here.

Here are the poems in the series so far:

"She" after Portrait with Flowers by William Johnson
"Poems Come Lately" after Still Life with Flowers and Chair by William Johnson
"Papa with a Pipe" after Self-Portrait with Pipe by William Johnson
"A Song for Old Glory" after Lift Thy Voice and Sing by William Johnson
"Midnight Party" after Harbor Under the Midnight Sun by William Johnson
"Summersong" after Children at the Ice Cream Stand by William Johnson
"Trio" after Art Class by William Johnson
"To a Water Boy" after The Water Boy by Meta Warrick Fuller
"Storytime" after Storytime by Meta Warrick Fuller
"Sorrow" after Sorrow by Meta Warrick Fuller
"My John Henry" after When John Henry Was a Baby by Palmer Hayden
"Night Music" after Untitled by Palmer Hayden
"A (Sub)way of Looking" after The Subway, 1930 by Palmer Hayden
"Girl to Mama" after Madonna at the Stoop by Palmer Hayden
"For Love of the Game" after Checkers Game by Palmer Hayden
"The Birthday Birds of Bonaventure Island" after Birds of Isle de Bonaventure by Palmer Hayden
"Boat Dock, Early Evening" after Boats at the Dock by Palmer Hayden
"Prayer for the Berry Pickers" after Berry Pickers by Palmer Hayden
"Sometimes Books Are the Only Playground I Need" after Among Them is a Girl Reading by Palmer Hayden
"Measurements" after Octoroon Girl by Archibald Motley
"Barbeque" after Barbecue by Archibald Motley
"American Idyll, 1934" after An Idyll of the Deep South by Aaron Douglas
"The Toiler" after The Toiler by Aaron Douglas
"Let There Be Poetry" after The Creation by Aaron Douglas
"Boy with Plane" after Boy with Plane by Aaron Douglas
"To a Dancer" after Sahdji (Tribal Women) by Aaron Douglas
"For the Builders" after Building More Stately Mansions by Aaron Douglas
"This Poem is a Dream" after Aspiration by Aaron Douglas

Today's piece is a portrait of jazz pianist Hazel Scott. Isn't she beautiful? Somehow I ended up with a poem that has a title with the same amount of words as the body of the poem. :)

Hazel Scott at the Piano

her smile
a concerto
of silence

- Irene Latham


  1. Perfect for the picture, Irene. Did you know there is a picture book about James Van Der Zee. The title is "Take A Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee". It's a good introduction to his fabulous work. Happy Sunday!

  2. She looks VERY young. Irene, I've really enjoyed the variety of forms and approaches you've taken this year--nice choices of art, too!


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