Marilyn Nelson

(1946 / Cleveland / United States)

Marilyn Nelson
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Marilyn Nelson (born April 26, 1946) is an American poet, translator and children's book author. She is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks.
From 1978 to 1994 she wrote books as Marilyn Nelson Waniek.
Nelson was born on April 26, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio to Melvin M. Nelson, a U.S. serviceman in the Air Force, and Johnnie Mitchell Nelson, a teacher. She was brought up living on military bases, and began writing while in elementary school. She earned her B.A. from the University of California-Davis, and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1979.
She is a professor emeritus of English at the ... more »

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  • Rookie Kayleigh England (3/5/2013 7:32:00 PM)

    I am a high school student in Connecticut. Right now, I'm working on a research paper on Marilyn Nelson. i am having a bit of trouble finding a thesis for this paper. I have read several of her book for children, such as ''A Wreath for Emmett Till', 'Carver: A Life in Poems' and 'Fortune's Bones'. I have been gathering information on her and I really admire her works and her views on the African American experience and on African American women. Mrs. Nelson uses history, prose, poetry and sonnets to share these experiences. I really hope to meet her one day and hope that in a couple of days i can get over to UCONN (My high school is right on Uconn campus) and maybe interview her as that will give me some new insight and be a good start and addition to my paper.

  • Rookie Kiarra Smith (7/13/2007 9:01:00 PM)

    I have occasionally been trying to get in contact with Marilyn Nelson just to tell her how much her books mean to me. I have only read three of her books which are for children. They are: 'A Wreath for Emmett Till' (I memorized that book) , 'Carver: A Life in Poems' and 'Fortune's Bones'. I know I have only lived on this earth 17 years and make rational decisions, but one thing I stand true on is the genius of Marilyn Nelson. The amount of research she does when writing and the illuminating power that radiates from each page gives me chills. Her books soar above many of today's children's books. They are so beyond well written, I would not be surprised if they become classics and part of the US reading curriculum. I love how Ms. Nelson preserves our Black heritage through prose and poetry and how she gives new twists to sonnet variations. This woman is my literary herione and that speaks for itself.

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Famous Poets
Best Poem of Marilyn Nelson

Daughters, 1900

Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch,
are bickering. The eldest has come home
with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.

She lectures them: the younger daughters search
the sky, elbow each others' ribs, and groan.
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch

and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch
saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown
with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach,

themselves, to be called "Ma'am," to march
high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town.
Five daughters. In the slant light ...

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