Nikki Grimes

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2022 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Nikki Grimes

When I thought about what I wanted to say on this auspicious occasion, I knew where I wanted to begin, and where I wanted to end. I open with lines from Psalm 16:5-6. I thought about using a contemporary translation, but I prefer the poetry of the original — no...

Ordinary Hazards: Nikki Grimes's 2020 BGHB Nonfiction Honor Speech

I’ve always believed that my coming-­of-age story is the single most important story I had to tell. I didn’t imagine that it would take me quite so long to tell it, though I shouldn’t have been surprised. Ordinary Hazards is easily the most difficult work I’ve ever written. Memoir is...

The Writer's Page: Navigating the N-Word

The mere mention of the n-word is usually cause for conversation and consternation, to put it mildly. Whenever used in a song lyric or a piece of literature, dialogue and debate are quick to follow. Even so, the n-word is a brick wall I occasionally crash into, on purpose, whenever...

Lift Every Voice: Seeing Stars

I’ve been marinating in childhood memories this past year as I worked to complete my upcoming memoir, Ordinary Hazards. Among the memories there were, as you might imagine, many moments that marked my path as a writer: my first poetry reading at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem, receiving my first...

One Last Word: Nikki Grimes's 2017 BGHB Poetry & Fiction Honor Speech

One Last Word is a love letter from me to the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and from those poets to a new generation of readers.I was born in Harlem, gave my first poetry reading at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem, and have stepped into the continuum of poets nourished...

A Lifeline Called Hope: 2017 Wilder Medal Acceptance by Nikki Grimes

Photo: Aaron Lemen“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is one of my favorite verses of scripture, largely because of the word hoped. I’ve long had a fascination with words, and the word with the deepest resonance for me is hope. The...

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