Friday, December 1, 2017

Poetry Friday: 125, a poem by Jaime Adoff from Lee Bennett Hopkins book Amazing Places

Today's poem comes from one of my favorite poetry anthologies, Amazing Places, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Christy Hale and Chris Soentpiet. When I reviewed it, I wrote that it "is a collection of 11 original poems, each on about an American landmark..."  

Not long ago, I reviewed a book called The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore. It's a coming of age story about a boy named Lolly living in the St. Nicholas projects in Harlem. It opens with him walking along 125th Street on Christmas Even, heading home and being followed by two older boys who intend to teach him a lesson about crossing crew boundary lines. 

Someone pointed out that the book is a very one-sided view of Harlem, and while it doesn't diminish the credibility of Lolly's story, it is true. Harlem is a beautiful and exciting place, an area with a personality of its own, a diverse population, a wide variety of shops and restaurants, beautiful architecture, a long storied history, and a center for African American arts and letters (if you are ever in NYC, do visit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, you will appreciate Carole Boston Weatherford's book Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library that much more).  
As the following shows, for one young boy, Harlem is a walk across 125th Street with Grandma for an afternoon at the movies:
It's Poetry Friday and Mary Lee at A Year of Reading has this week's poetry roundup


  1. It's a beautiful book of poetry from so many wonderful places, I agree, Alex. I visited Harlem's Jazz museum and the Apollo Theater with students a few years ago. special part of NYC. Thanks for sharing different perspectives, too. I love the opening line of the poem.

  2. I haven't read this collection yet, but it looks good. The poem you share invites me to stroll down 125 alongside the narrator and his grandmother.

  3. Thanks for taking us for a walk in Harlem!


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