Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China

Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China

by Nikki Grimes, Ed Young
     
 

Tai Chi Morning is simply, as the title implies, snapshots of China seen through the lens of a poet’s eye. It is a collection of moments, a personal record of an outsider’s first experience of China." (From the introduction)

In 1988, poet Nikki Grimes spent three weeks along the east coast of China. Like any curious tourist, she observed and touched,

Overview


Tai Chi Morning is simply, as the title implies, snapshots of China seen through the lens of a poet’s eye. It is a collection of moments, a personal record of an outsider’s first experience of China." (From the introduction)

In 1988, poet Nikki Grimes spent three weeks along the east coast of China. Like any curious tourist, she observed and touched, sniffed and tasted. But unlike most, she poured those sensations into poetry. Distilling the delight and confusion of an African American traveler thousands of miles from home, her poems take a thoughtful, sometimes playful, look at an outsider’s sense of self.
As it happened, around the same time, artist Ed Young was visiting his native China--as always, writing and sketching his impressions in a personal journal. Like Nikki, Ed witnessed signs of the old China alongside the new. Like the poet, the artist caught hold of them and set them down on paper.
Through Nikki’s wry but penetrating verse and Ed’s deft, revealing drawings, in Tai Chi Morning the journeys of a visiting American poet and an artist returning home unwind side by side in counterpoint.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the essays and poems of Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Ed Young, the poet reflects on her experiences in China in 1988 as part of an arts advocacy group. On many of the book's pages, the text or photographs (taken by the author) appear to be printed upon delicately crinkled rice paper. Young's pen-and-inks of street scenes, a lone plowman, or hundreds of bicycles lend an intimacy to Grimes's well-honed impressions. In one of the many standouts, "Huang Shan & the Great Wall," Grimes writes, "I, Huang Shan am living, breathing/ deftly carved by Heaven's hand./ What makes you great, you wingless dragon,/ wriggling lifeless through the land?" A photograph of the Great Wall, and Young's image of the masses descending from the stairs that lead to its seemingly endless walkway, reinforce the poet's dramatic imagery. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-A harmonious blend of travelogue, sketchbook, and poetic reflections, this offering will be enjoyed for its content and its teaching potential. In 1988, Grimes traveled to China with a theater group and recorded her impressions of the country. Tethered by her African-American roots, she paints her personal visions of a particular area or experience in a narrative paragraph, and then knits the ideas together into a poem on the facing page. She considers the political strife of China, and the world at large. She muses about meeting a Mongolian mother and child whose features and clothing remind her of Swedish Laplanders and American Eskimos, "-which got me thinking how interrelated we human beings are. It seems we're all connected somewhere down the line. Why is it that we only see our differences?" Young's simple artwork complements Grimes's eloquent images. The reedy pen-and-ink drawings deftly capture the exotic and ancient culture of the country. While the author and illustrator worked independently of one another, the book has a collaborative effect. The evocative poetry and persuasive sketches create a collage of a land and people as different, unusual, ancient, and humane, as our own. Beyond its obvious use for providing a multifaceted picture of China, this sparse gem is also a perfect choice to demonstrate journal writing. It will provide inspiration for poetry and creative writing. Black-and-white snapshots appear throughout.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1988, poet Grimes was part of an artists' tour of China, performing, reading, traveling, and teaching. Young, whose family comes from China, always sketches what he sees when he returns to visit. Grimes constructs a travelogue of small poems, each with an introduction accompanied by her tourist photos. Young's lively and evocative black-and-white drawings, which are from the same time period-just before Tiananmen Square-are well-matched with the verse, some rhymed, some not. What could have been a mishmash turns out pretty well, as Grimes writes about her homesick longing for ice cream: "Sweet Deal," her inability to consume scorpion saute in "Dinner Guest" and wonderful sights, like the Great Wall and the Yellow Mountains. While it might be hard to find an audience for this, it opens up possibilities for history, culture, and poetry classes for middle grades. (Poetry/travel. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812627077
Publisher:
Cricket Books
Publication date:
04/09/2004
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >