A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
In this elegy to Emmett Till, Ms. Nelson has accomplished what Publisher’s Weekly called “a brilliant , , , powerful, graceful whole . .. [both] haunting and memorable.”
Marilyn Nelson’s crown of sonnets eloquently expose the murderous racism that led to Emmett Till’s murder: “A mob/heartless and heedless, answering to no god,/tears through the patchwork drapery of our dreams // Tears, through the patchwork drapery of dream,/ for the hanging bodies, the men on flaming pyres,/ the crowds standing around like devil choirs.” Yet she also offers a message of hope. “In my house, there is still something called grace,/ which melts ice shards of hate and makes hearts whole.” In this masterful work, Ms. Nelson offers us both the power of outrage and the grace of healing.
A Wreath for Emmett Till has won the 2005 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and was designated a 2006 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and a 2006 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Ms. Nelson currently teaches at the University of Connecticut as Professor of English.