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Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems (Hardcover)
New York Times bestselling author and poet Nikki Grimes explains, “A study of scripture reveals that Jesus spent a lot of time with people in the margins. As an African American, I live in the margins, and I can tell you that it's a place most of us would rather not be. And yet, I know there is always glory to be found in the margins because of the Lord’s presence in, and with us. As Poet Laureate of my Grace Brethren Church in Southern California, it’s my job to distill the heart of the weekly sermon into a poem. I dive into each week’s chosen scripture, viewing it from my own perspective as Black, as woman, as poet, always a little left of center, and looking for the glory to be found in the margins of life, and of the text. Of course, those of us who live in the margins are not what anyone expects, and the very notion that God might speak through us, through me, may seem a bit wild. But he does. ‘I will pour out my spirit on all flesh,’ said the Lord. God’s busy in the hearts of all who call on him.”
Glory in the Margins is published under Paraclete Press's Iron Pen imprint. In the book of Job, a suffering man pours out his anguish to his Maker. From the depths of his pain, he reveals a trust in God's goodness that is stronger than his despair, giving humanity some of the most beautiful and poetic verses of all time. Paraclete's Iron Pen imprint is inspired by this spirit of unvarnished honesty and tenacious hope.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling poet Nikki Grimes received the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature. Author of over 75 books, her distinguished works include the modern classic Bronx Masquerade, award-winning verse novel Dark Sons on the life of Ishmael, memoir in verse Ordinary Hazards winner of the Printz Honor, Siebert Honor, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the acclaimed Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and NYT bestseller Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice. Creator of ALA Notable Poetry Book Come Sunday, At Jerusalem's Gate, and Voices of Christmas, Grimes has been featured in the pages of IMAGE Journal of Arts and Religion, World, Today's Christian Woman, Poetry Magazine, Hunger Mountain, and on the Academy of American Poets series, Poem a Day, among others. Once nominated for the Pushkin, her poetry can be found in numerous collections including The Golden ShovelAnthology. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
"Grimes (Garvey’s Choice; Bronx Masquerade) is a much-laureled writer of both prose and poetry with a special aptitude for writing material that will appeal to younger readers, including with a recent treatment of the life of current Vice President Kamala Harris. This most recent collection of her poems is explicitly devotional. Most of them derive inspiration from specific verses of Christian Scripture, cited at the conclusion of the poem; all of them were intended for delivery from the pulpit, as an adjunct to the worship life of Grimes’ home congregation, a small Brethren in Christ church in Riverside, California. As such, they form a sort of liturgical calendar in poetry: every month of the Church’s life, and certainly all its great occasions, are treated here. Grimes has a gift for direct, flowing expression, and her poems are both devout and memorable: “Here he comes,/ the Word walking/ in a pool/ of his own light.” VERDICT Grimes’s unfussy verse, at once personal in faith and public in delivery, will find an audience among Christian readers and a place in the worship services of congregations looking for artistic expressions of the Church’s year." —Library Journal “Leave it to the sensationally gifted Nikki Grimes to weld her devotions into one glorious body of text. It’s possible to feel these deeply rooted poems finding friends even as you read them. They will be spoken in resonant spaces to grateful congregations. They will find new homes in the middle of lonely nights. Generous renderings of familiar biblical stories and precious principles in her own inimitable voice. I bow down to ‘An Uncluttered Gospel’ and ‘Navigating No’ among so many gems and sing praises to Nikki for lifting us up.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation
“‘What is there / to recommend this world?’ Nikki Grimes asks, a universal question any human being who has ever suffered has posed. “One honest piercing look around / and there are tears enough / to wash away the world,” the poet acknowledges. The constant drum of sorrow, ‘Drought famine / murder and mayhem / night terrors breaching / the brightness of day’ all have the power to drive us to desolation. And yet, in the midst of her despair, the poet stops to listen and hears the answer to her prayer: ‘God whispers in our ear / Look, to me! Look here!’ Again and again in these poems, each of which serves as a powerful short homily and biblical exegesis, as well as poetic utterance, Grimes finds the grace she—and we—need to move forward and to do what Flannery O’Connor urges all people of God to do, to love the world even as we struggle to endure it. By turns celebratory and sorrowful, these hundred poems honor the movements of the restless human heart and offer a place of repose, bringing us finally to the joyful Good News that we need to be constantly reminded of: ‘The secret’s out: / the kingdom of God is here,’ and we are in its midst.” —Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, author of Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor and Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A Pandemic Pilgrimage
“These poems of Nikki Grimes are like sermons in the standard sense, but also in the original Roman sense of ‘conversations’—clear, colloquial talk that is reverent about God and often gently irreverent about our failures to live lives of faith. The language of Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems is clear and fresh, and the book’s messages based on the Bible will be insightful and consoling for readers of all ages and backgrounds.” —A.M. Juster, poet, author of Wonder and Wrath
“Nikki Grimes is my big sister in the faith, and the poet laureate of Madison Street Church. Sunday in and Sunday out, with a raucous love for Jesus and a quiet intimacy with the English language, she humbly accepts the invitation, and takes the holy scalpel of God’s Word to our small church community. She combines the truth and grace of scripture with a surgical use of Spirit-led words that cut away our pretentious, cauterize our fears, and call our souls to hope. Her poems, shared at the start of every sermon, constantly conspire to make me a better preacher, a better pastor, and a better person.” —Rev. Jeff Wright, pastor, Madison Street Church, Riverside, California
“Nikki Grimes has written many, many books of poetry during her esteemed career. But in this one, you hold more than just a book: you hold a sanctuary.” —Sarah Arthur, author, speaker, and editor of the Literary Guides to Prayer