Friday, March 19, 2010

Fortune's Bones Marilyn Nelson

Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem by Marilyn Nelson
This is the story of Fortune's Bones. Fortune was a Slave in Connecticut, his master was Dr. Porter. When Fortune died Dr. Porter used his bones for further study. The bones stayed in the Porter family for a few generations. Eventually they ended up in a small museum in Waterbury CT.

Nelson educates with her poems and moves you with her words. Beauty and knowledge is a wonderful combination. Whenever I read Nelson I start with the author's note. She takes the time to explain certain aspects of poem.

From the last paragraph of the author's note -
"A requiem, by definition, is sad the person it honors has died. But manumission - the freeing of a slave - is a joyous event. By calling this The Manumission Requiem, I'm setting grief side by side with joy."

Nelson believes the high point of her requiem is Not My Bones. I agree. The first paragraph

I was not this body,
I was not these bones
This skeleton was just my
temporary home
Elementary molecules converged for a breath
than danced on beyond my individual death
And I am not my body,
I am not my body.

Listen to Nelson read the preface . I've listened to it twice. Fortune's Bones was published in 2004 and was a Coretta Scott King Honor.

I've linked this post to Poetry Friday, this week the round up can be found at Some Novel Ideas
Every Friday children's bloggers can contribute a poetry related link to a poetry round up. Anyone is free to participate at anytime. This is my first time.


Morgan said...

Wow, what a wonderful and true poem. "these bones were just my home"- thanks so much for sharing!

Tabatha said...

I just heard about Fortune's Bones recently and picked up a copy...had an interesting discussion with my kids about the debate at the end (continue to have Fortune's Bones on exhibit or not). My kids said not. Glad to have you here for Poetry Friday! :-)

Doret said...

Morgan - I love that line as well
Tabatha - I agree with your students

Jeannine Atkins said...

Doret, I'm glad you came to and linked at Poetry Friday, and I'm glad I went back there to see who slipped in during the late hours!

I love Marilyn Nelson's work so much, that combination of stellar research and poetry, which takes you to places you might not otherwise dare to go.

Thank you the link to the reading, too!

Mary Lee said...

Marilyn Nelson is an AMAZING poet! Thanks for joining Poetry Friday! We have some openings in July for hosting the round up. Want to give it a try? Let me know: mlhahn AT earthlink DOT net. I blog at A Year of Reading and I'm the temporary caretaker of the round up schedule.

susan said...

I know this. I don't own it though. I did hear Ms. Nelson read from it.

Have to have it. Thanks.

evelyn.n.alfred said...

Oh man, how could I have missed this post? This book seems just right for me.

Thanks for sharing it.