Item description for Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books) by Marilyn Nelson & Pamela Espeland...
Overview Presents a collection of poems written to honor the life of Fortune, a slave in eighteenth-century Connecticut whose body was donated to science upon his death.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 10" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Hand Print
ISBN 1932425128 ISBN13 9781932425123
Availability 2 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 28, 2017 04:04.
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More About Marilyn Nelson & Pamela Espeland
Marilyn Nelson is the author of The Freedom Business, Fortune, and Carver: A Life in Poems, among other titles. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Honor Book winner, and a Boston Globe--Horn Book award winner. She l
Marilyn Nelson currently resides in Storrs, in the state of Connecticut. Marilyn Nelson was born in 1946 and has an academic affiliation as follows - professor at the University of Connecticut, the former Poet Laureate o.
Reviews - What do customers think about Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books)?
Seeking one's Fortune Jul 10, 2005
There are as many ways of honoring the long forgotten as there are ways of mucking that honor up. I came to "Fortune's Bones" with just a bit of trepidation, I admit. Though I knew author Marilyn Nelson had created this book to honor a man long dead in the best way she knew how, I was still recovering from a similar, and foul, title called, "Journey To the Bottomless Pit" which also came out in 2004. In both books, a man who was a slave during his lifetime is honored with a children's book of fiction. In "Journey", the book was a simplistic version of a complicated man's life. I prayed that "Fortune's Bones" would not be the same. Those prayers were answered tenfold. Marilyn Nelson tells the story of Fortune in a manner respectful of his life, then accompanies this retelling with a requiem written in his honor. Though I would have enjoyed further factual information on the topic, this is a worthy addition to any poetry collection or non-fiction collection, for children, teens, or grown adults, anywhere.
There once was a man named Fortune. Born a slave in the 1700s, he and his wife and his children all belonged to a Dr. Preserved Porter. Later tests on Fortune's bones show that his life was not an easy one. His back was once broken and though he had a healthy skeleton, he died at the age of 60. When he did, Dr. Porter took Fortune's death as an opportunity to study human anatomy. He removed Fortune's skeleton, tapped the bones, and made himself a complete human skeleton. Every bone was carefully marked and studied by Porter and his ancestors. Years later, Fortune's name was lost and the skeleton was mislabeled "Larry" and given to the Matttatuck Museum. In the 1990s historians did research on it and found Fortune's true name once again. Now the only question that remains is what to do with Fortune's bones. Do we bury them and put him to rest at long last, or do we learn more from them about 1700s slaves and slavery? The question remains unanswered, but author Marilyn Nelson has done what she can. In this book she writes a requiem in Fortune's memory. Filled with free verse poetry, a Kyrie of the Bones, and a Sanctus at the end, "Fortune's Bones" is a text of respect.
One of the many things I loved about this book was the fact that as an author/poet, Nelson tells us why she wrote what she did. One poem is entitled, "Not My Bones", in which Fortune states clearly, "I am not my body", to anyone who cares to listen. This phrase comes from the Vietnamese Buddhist leader Thich Nhat Hahn, a fact that could well have gone uncredited by a less careful author. Each poem in this book is accompanied by factual information pertaining to Fortune's story, along with photographs, papers, tapestries, maps, and other important documents of the period. As a whole these poems speak beautifully together, forming a single Requiem. I especially liked "Dinah's Lament" in which Fortune's wife speaks of the cruel injustice of being forced to dust the bones that once would, "hold me when I cried; to dust where his soft lips were, and his chest what curved its warm against my back at night". Nelson, the accomplished voice behind her other great book, "Carver: A Life In Poems", is at her best here.
Admittedly, there were aspects of this book left unspoken that I (and I'm sure others) would have liked to have heard more about. The book is a Requiem and doesn't dwell on the fascinating process scientists took to discover Fortune again. There's a small series of three pictures on one page that shows three stages of facial reconstruction of Fortune, taken from his bones. That's something that would have made for a fascinating story in and of itself. Or how did the researchers and historians eventually discover who Fortune really was? Who did they talk to? What did they read? Sadly, such information will have to wait for another book. It's not answered here.
"Fortune's Bones", will obviously be snatched up by any child and/or teen assigned to read a book of poems since it's a mere 32 pages altogether. This is a great good thing. In spite of its scant length, this is a title that will teach a lot of information to a lot of kids in a wonderfully stirring way. The poems are mindful of the past and give the greatest of respect to a man of whom we know so little. A wonderful publication
Fortune's remains the Mattatuck Museum Dec 3, 2004
Fortune's skeleton is not on display. The exhibit about Fortune at the Mattatuck Museum includes a photographic illusion allowing visitors to see an image of Fortune's skeleton transform into a painting of Fortune as he may have looked in life. Fortune's actual bones have been carefully placed in archival museum storage, awaiting a community decision about whether to bury the remains or preserve them for future study.