I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery by Cynthia Grady Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery

This rich and intricate collection of poems chronicles the various experiences of American slaves. Drawn together through imagery drawn from quilting and fiber arts, each poem is spoken from a different perspective: a house slave, a mother losing her daughter to the auction block, a blacksmith, a slave fleeing on the Underground Railroad.
This moving and eloquent set of po


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    Barbara

    The cover of this book and its acrylic illustrations containing quilt patterns and images that seem perfectly suited for each poem drew me in from the first time I glimpsed it. Opening the book and reading and then rereading the 14 poems contained within only left me further intrigued. The poet names each of her unrhymed poems after a traditional quilt pattern such as log cabin, wagon wheel or kaleidoscope. According to the note at the front of the book, she chooses to write ten lines of ten syl

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    Jill

    Apr 28, 2012

    rated it
    really liked it

    This patchwork quilt of poems by Cynthia Grady, who is a poet, a librarian, and a quilter, includes fourteen poems that describe the lives of enslaved people in America. Each poem is named for a traditional quilt pattern, which also echoes the theme and style of the poem.

    For example, this is the poem “Log Cabin.”

    “The finds of archaelogists beneath
    dilapidated cabins down the hill:
    dome chicken bones, the skins and skulls of coons
    and squirrels – hard remains of suppers stalked
    by moonlight, faith,

    For example, this is the poem “Log Cabin.”

    “The finds of archaelogists beneath
    dilapidated cabins down the hill:
    dome chicken bones, the skins and skulls of coons
    and squirrels – hard remains of suppers stalked
    by moonlight, faith, starvation. Caches, too,
    of divination: sea shells, broken beads,
    and bundled roots suggest how slaves survived
    a knotted life of cornmeal, cruelty, death.
    The dig won’t yield the stolen, lost, withheld:
    shoes, safety, drums, dignity, daughters, sons.”

    Other poems include “Anvil” about a blacksmith and “Rail Fence” about slaves who were horse trainers or jockeys. “Wagon Wheel” describes a girl separated from her family, and “Tree of Life” tells of a slave tied to a tree and under the lash. The form of the poems is unrhymed but tightly metered lines of ten syllables apiece, in order to mimic the square shape of a quilt block.

    Not all poems are about fear and suffering (although most are); some reflect moments of joy or spirituality.

    A vibrant acrylic painting by award winner Michele Wood illustrates each poem. The pictures incorporate the quilt pattern used in the title of the poem.

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    Nicole Santiago

    This poetic masterpiece, inspired by quilting customs kept alive by African slaves, pieces together the plight and daily lives of those enslaved. Quilts have three layers and are diverse in their patterns, so Grady incorporate three references into each of the fourteen free-verse poems: a biblical or spiritual reference, a musical reference, and a sewing or fiber arts reference. The poems’ parallel structures and patterns are mirrors of structures and patterns involved in quiltmaking.

    Michele Wo

    Michele Wood, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner, used acrylics on canvas for the full-page paintings. They are vibrantly colored, intricately detailed with traditional quilt patterns, and feature the quilt pattern of the partnering poem; the illustrations tell their own stories.

    The poetry, prose, and paintings encourage empathy and critical thought about the enslavement of African Americans. The author includes an Author’s Note, Illustrator’s Note, and bibliography to show the level of research and authenticity that makes this piece so highly rated.

    Students in grades four through eight would craft new insights on the experience of slavery after the text is read aloud and discussed in small groups, with scaffolding to ensure the topic is handled with the care it deserves.
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