cover image Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China

Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China

Nikki Grimes. Cricket Books, $15.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-8126-2707-7

In the essays and poems of Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Ed Young, the poet reflects on her experiences in China in 1988 as part of an arts advocacy group. On many of the book's pages, the text or photographs (taken by the author) appear to be printed upon delicately crinkled rice paper. Young's pen-and-inks of street scenes, a lone plowman, or hundreds of bicycles lend an intimacy to Grimes's well-honed impressions. In one of the many standouts, ""Huang Shan & the Great Wall,"" Grimes writes, ""I, Huang Shan am living, breathing/ deftly carved by Heaven's hand./ What makes you great, you wingless dragon,/ wriggling lifeless through the land?"" A photograph of the Great Wall, and Young's image of the masses descending from the stairs that lead to its seemingly endless walkway, reinforce the poet's dramatic imagery.