The Golden Shovel: “an entirely new literary form”


“The poems of this anthology do not pay homage to Brooks in a traditional way. Instead, they seek to carry on her words through an entirely new literary form, called the ‘Golden Shovel.’ In a Golden Shovel poem, a poet takes a line or lines from a Brooks poem, and then uses each word from those lines, in order, as the end words of their new poem. Hayes invented the form in his 2010 poem called ‘The Golden Shovel,’ which used the lines of Brooks’ well-known poem ‘We Real Cool,’ as the ending words in his.”  – Elizabeth Flock – How Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry is connecting Emmett Till with the violence in Chicago today – 3/7/14 – PBS Newshour

The Golden Shovel
Terrance Hayes 
after Gwendolyn Brooks
I. 1981
When I am so small Da’s sock covers my arm, we
cruise at twilight until we find the place the real
men lean, bloodshot and translucent with cool.
His smile is a gold-plated incantation as we

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