School Library Journal - 02/01/2001 Gr 4-8-Rochelle's compilation of 20 poems by a dozen writers is accompanied by large-scale reproductions of the work of 17 artists. Each colorful spread pairs a poem and painting in various layouts. Though in a few cases the words seem shunted to the corners, most of the combinations are stunning. Pairs like Countee Cullen's "Incident" with Lev. T. Mills's Gemini I or Langston Hughes's "My People" with Aaron Douglas's Into Bondage reveal a close attention to the emotional impact in each-the poems and paintings feed off one another almost chemically. Almost all of the selections are from the 20th century, and many contemporary poets are represented, including Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, and E. Ethelbert Miller. The selection complements Catherine Clinton's I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry (Houghton, 1998), which provides a broader chronological range of poets, and which shares only three poems with this title. Rochelle's volume is more immediate and personal; yet, as she quotes Georgia Douglas Johnson in her introduction: "Your world is as big as you make it"-and she provides readers with a wide view. Short biographical paragraphs on each poet and artist round out this moving presentation.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. - Copyright 2001 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2001 Poets are paired with artists here for a gallery of twenty spreads portraying various aspects of African-American experience. Many of the selections are well known: Countee Cullen's "Incident" faces Lev T. Mills' charcoal drawing "Gemini I"; Gwendolyn Brooks' "John, Who Is Poor" partners Charles Dawson's painting "Marbles"; and Langston Hughes' "My People" shares a spread with Aaron Douglas' painting "Into Bondage." Bold-hued backgrounds contextualize each set, often picking up dominant colors in the graphic images; the page designs are all distinctively different but each spread is internally cohesive. Although styles vary both verbally and visually, the overall result is an eye-catching picture book for older elementary, junior high, and even high school students who can catch the conceptual intricacies of a piece such as Alice Walker's "How Poems Are Made: A Discredited View" and Beauford Delaney's attendant "Can Fire in the Park," a brilliant composition that looks like finger painting has been used to depict heat mirage. As is inevitable with works not originally conceived as parts of a whole, the words and pictures occasionally seem to limit or over-define each other's meanings rather than expand or complement them. Sometimes, however, the exposure of one form to another can magnify echoes, and the quality of such a set rivets both mind and eye in a format that will attract attention from young people who might never make it to an art museum or more substantive anthology. - Copyright 2001 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 12/15/2000 *Starred Review* In her eloquent introduction to this large-size anthology, Rochelle says that art lets us “look at private moments without interrupting them.” Her great selections do just that. Each of the 20 poems is opposite a painting reproduced in splendid color. All are by well-known writers and artists, both classic and contemporary. The poets range from Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen to Alice Walker, and the artists include Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and more. The art doesn’t overwhelm the words because there’s no attempt to make a literal connection. Nikki Giovanni’s heartbreaking “Legacies” is opposite Horace Pippin’s Saying Prayers ; both show that a grandparent and child cannot express their love, “and I guess nobody ever does.” Lucille Clifton’s poem “Auction Street” is opposite Jacob Lawrence’s painting Community . At the back of the book are short notes on each poet and artist. For children and older readers, this is a stirring book that will take them up close to private moments and also extend their view of themselves. - Copyright 2000 Booklist.