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My Seneca Village
Contributor(s): Nelson, Marilyn

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ISBN: 1608981975     ISBN-13: 9781608981977
Publisher: Namelos Llc
OUR PRICE: $11.66  

Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: November 2015
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Poetry | American | African American
Dewey: 808
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 9.25" H x 6.00" W x 0.50" (0.34 lbs) 87 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Spring)
Seneca Village was founded in 1825 by free African Americans; by 1857 it had been razed for construction of Central Park. In forty-one poems, Nelson imagines the reflections of its inhabitants. Poems appear on right-hand pages and are prefaced by brief, scene-setting text on the left. Nelson's natural, musical lines (mostly in iambic pentameter) lend themselves to multiple readings.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #6)
Seneca Village in Manhattan was founded in 1825 by free African Americans; by 1857 it had been razed to make way for the construction of Central Park. In forty-one poems Nelson spans the life of the village through the imagined reflections of its inhabitants. Some we meet just once, while others reappear: Epiphany Davis, forecaster of the future; Frederick Riddles, schoolboy turned soldier; and Sarah Matilda White, hair-braider and gossip. Most of the characters are African American, with a few Irish and German immigrants who also made their home there. Through a range of poetic forms and voices, Nelson communicates the desires, fulfillments, and disappointments of the village residents, along with episodes from daily life and larger historical incidents such as the Shakespeare Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2015 December)

Gr 5 Up—This beautifully crafted and powerful collection of poems deals with a brief period (1825–57) in New York City's storied past. Seneca Village, on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was a thriving multiethnic community of African Americans, Irish and German immigrants, and, possibly, some Native Americans, until it was decimated by the creation of Central Park. After poring over the written accounts and census records, renowned poet Nelson sat down to imagine the lives of a number of the residents, giving voice to individuals based on the names and identifying labels. Brief paragraphs set each scene, followed by a poem in the voice of the Seneca Villager. Readers hear from a bootblack, a conjure-man, a reverend, a hairdresser, a nurse, a mariner, schoolchildren, a music teacher, tub-men hauling sewage to the river, an elderly conductor on the Underground Railroad, and abolitionist and activist Maria W. Stewart. As in any impoverished community, the hardships are palpable—babies die of misunderstood diseases, people are victimized by their starving neighbors, there's violence and cruelty—but there is also resilience, hard-won independence, and hope for its children's futures. In the spirit of Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology, this work touches on historical truths (footnoted throughout) but introduces a fleeting time and place through the everyday hopes and dreams of its residents. VERDICT This rich and diverse (a variety of poetic forms, including ones invented for certain speakers, are featured) piece of American literature belongs in every collection.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal

[Page 105]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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