poetry friday


Fats here.

Before anything else, don’t forget to stop by and read more poems from the poetry round-up graciously hosted by Kara at Rogue Anthropologist. Now, on to our feature. I chose Ntozake Shange’s 1983 poem, Mood Indigo*, to share with you for today’s Poetry Friday. This poem was taken from her poetry collection entitled, “A Daughter’s Geography.” The text of Mood Indigo was used in the poetry picturebook collaboration of Ntozake Shange and Kadir Nelson. The book is entitled Ellington Was Not a Street.

Photo taken from Kadir Nelson's official website. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.
Photo taken from Kadir Nelson’s official website. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

The free verse poem begins with the following lines:

it hasn’t always been this way
ellington was not a street

Mood Indigo is a tribute to the African-American community in which Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood when her family welcomed and entertained a group of notable men who gathered there.

robeson no mere memory
du bois walked up my father’s stairs
hummed some tune over me
sleeping in the company of men
who changed the world

Shange’s beautiful and powerful recollection is brought to life by the stunning oil paintings of Kadir Nelson. Their work reminds us of the people who excelled in their field and dedicated their lives for the community, took pride in the African-American culture, and helped in a movement to change the world. The following lines are my favorite:

our house was filled with all kinda folks
our windows were not cement or steel
our doors opened like our daddy’s arms
held us safe & loved

*Mood Indigo is also the title of a song by Duke Ellington and his famous orchestra. Duke Ellington was regarded as the greatest composer in jazz history.



Reading Challenge Update: 45 (25)

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Fats is the Assistant Manager for Circulation Services at the Wayne County Public Library in Wooster, Ohio. She considers herself a reader of all sorts, although she needs to work on her non-fiction reading. Fats likes a good mystery but is not too fond of thrillers. She takes book hoarding seriously and enjoys collecting bookmarks and tote bags. When she is not reading, Fats likes to shop pet apparel for her cat Penny (who absolutely loathes it).

7 comments on “Poetry Friday: Mood Indigo by Ntozake Shange

  1. I know this book, Fats, & it’s wonderful. So glad you’re sharing it here!


    • Fats Suela

      Hi Linda! Yes, it’s a wonderful book! The words and illustrations are captivating! I wasn’t aware of the background of this book so I found it to be a delightful treat when I realized it was actually a poem! I’m glad I was finally able to read it! =)


  2. macrush53

    This looks like a book I want.Thank you for shairng.


  3. I have this book, Fats – a glorious one it is too!


  4. I will be looking for this book this week! Thanks so much for introducing it to us, Fats. = )


  5. Pingback: [BHE 99] Showing More Love to Diversity |

  6. Pingback: ellington was not a street - This Picture Book Life

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