for My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson
The Seneca Village of the title was a predominantly African American community in New York City that was torn down in 1857 to build Central Park. Seneca Village emerges here through the fictionalized voices of characters whose names are based on real people Marilyn Nelson found in census records. Her first poem, titled “Land Owner,” is attached to “Andrew Williams, bootblack” and dated 1825, when Seneca Village was established. Her final poem, “Uncle Epiphany,” is dated 1855, just two years before the community would be gone. Nelson has imagined individuals of weight and heft and detail as she moves in and out of various lives and families. Brief prose narratives connecting the poems create a fuller sense of story. An opening note provides more information on Seneca Village, while a detailed discussion of the specific poetic form for each poem appears at volume’s end. (Age 12 and older)
CCBC Choices 2016. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016. Used with permission.
Poetry illustrated in the poet's own words - with brief prose descriptions of what she sees inside her work -- this exquisite collection takes readers back in time and deep into the mind's eye of Marilyn Nelson. A girl ponders being free-but-not-free. Orphaned brothers get gold fever. A conjurer sees past his time and into ours. The voices of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial 19th century Manhattan neighborhood are rising again One of America's most honored writers - a Newbery Honor medalist, Coretta Scott King Medalist and National Book Award nominee -draws upon history, and her astonishing imagination, to revive the long lost community of Seneca Village.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.