This year’s winner is One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance written by Nikki Grimes (Bloomsbury, 2017).
One Last Word features art by Grimes and: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland and Elizabeth Zunon.
Nikki Grimes will accept the award and the $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, on July 12, 2018, near the University Park campus of Penn State.
“One hundred years from now readers will be enjoying One Last Word,” the judges said. “Grimes showcases not only a lesser-known poetic form (the Golden Shovel) but the poets of the Harlem Renaissance and the work of African American artists. Grimes' poems in response to the poems of the Harlem Renaissance capture the power of each, then create riffs on those poems that provide hope for young people searching for their own identities.”
“Grimes not only celebrates the poets and poems of a time gone by, but builds on those works, transforming them into new, powerful poems that will resonate with a new, powerful generation of young people. One Last Word connects the struggles and challenges in our world today with the struggles and challenges of the past. ‘The past,’ as Grimes writes in the final poem of the book, ‘is a ladder that can help you keep climbing.’ Young people will return to this book again and again for inspiration, consolation, and, above all, hope.”
The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is named for the internationally renowned educator, poet, anthologist and passionate advocate of poetry for young people. Established in 1993, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award was the first award of its kind in the United States. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Penn State University Libraries and Lee Bennett Hopkins share joint administration of the annual award, which is selected by a panel of authors, librarians, teachers and scholars.