I Heard God Talking to Me: William Edmonson and His Stone Carvings

by Elizabeth Spires

Born in 1874, William Edmondson grew up on the land where his parents had once been... read more

Born in 1874, William Edmondson grew up on the land where his parents had once been slaves. He had no formal schooling and did grueling work as a hired hand until he left to find work in Nashville. Edmondson began having religious visions when he was still a boy. At the age of 57, he heard God tell him to carve a tombstone—it was the beginning of his career as an artist. Within a few years, Edmondson’s work was attracting national and international acclaim. Poet Elizabeth Spires gives voice to this extraordinary, plainspoken man, and to some of his subjects in stone, in a series of poems that are paired with striking black-and-white photographs taken of Edmondson and his works. “I’se just doing the Lord’s work. / It ain’t got much style. / God don’t want much style, but He gives you wisdom / and speeds you along.” (“A Conversation”). A biographical essay about Edmondson and his art, along with a selected bibliography, complete this distinctive portrait of a singular artist. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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