I HEARD GOD TALKING TO ME by Elizabeth Spires


William Edmondson and His Stone Carvings
Age Range: 12 & up
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Born to freed slaves near Nashville circa 1870 and unschooled, Edmondson began sculpting in limestone in his late 50s. In his own words, it was “God telling me what to do.” He began fashioning tombstones and later created statues of rabbits and mermaids, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jack Johnson. In this dignified, handsome volume, beautifully reproduced full-page black-and-white photographs face Spires’s poems. The 23 verses give voice not only to Edmondson but also to his works, ranging from somber to spiritual to whimsical. “Three Crows” are “singing a song, crooning a tune, / cawing ’cause we like to.” Edmondson was the first black artist to have a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art, but, ironically for a carver of headstones, the actual location of his grave has been lost. Readers with a love for art history, photography and African-American studies will find a veritable treasure here. Teachers and librarians take note, though: There are no bells and whistles, only a quiet elegance born of respect and admiration. (author’s note, resources) (Poetry. 12 and up)

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-33528-1
Page count: 56pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2009


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