Friday, October 17, 2014


There are so many ways to tell a story. In FRIDA, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand weaves together a series of biographical poems to capture the life of Mexican-born artist, Frida Kahlo. Kahlo had a difficult life- a childhood bout of polio, a crippling bus accident at age 18, marriage, then divorce, then remarriage to Diego Rivera, four miscarriages, spinal surgery that left her wheelchair bound, and then the amputation of her leg-- and yet she lived with strength, pride, and even joy. ¡Viva la vida/ (Long live life!) was her personal battle cry.

The book includes 26 poems, illustrated with Kahlo's artwork. Back matter consists of a biography, a timeline, and a bibliography. A terrific mentor text for middle or high school students attempting to write biographies or autobiographies.

"Hummingbird Wings"

I am a wounded hummingbird
caged in my room for nine months
with polio, crippling polio

Warm towels soaked in walnut water
ease the pain in my leg,
a thin, drying twig.

I hide in the walnut wardrobe
put on a white sock,
another on top
and another
Is the right leg as fat as the other?
The cage opens. 
Now I have wings.


Wednesday, August 21, 1920

Coyoacán- Today the marriage
between an elephant and a dove
took place in a civil ceremony 
in the ancient hall.
The twenty-two-year-old bride
Frida Kahlo wor
a Tehuana peasant dress
and a rebozo created by the people
for the people.
The forty-three-year-old,
bulky groom Diego Rivera,
sported a peacock feather
in his Stetson hat,
a wide leather belt,
huge minuer's shoes,
and paint-stained pants,
that looked as if he had slept in them
for a week.

My barren landscapes show my barren self
I have lost three children. 

Four arrows in my heart
to remind Diego how his shots have made me bleed.

Shooting pains in my hip,
Shooting pains in my foot,
Shooting pains in my spine.

I am not sick.
I am broken.
But I am happy to be alive. 

Michelle Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday today. Head over there for a Halloween poetry challenge!


Jeannine Atkins said...

I am happy to know about this book. Thank you for the introduction!

jama said...

This sounds like a gorgeous book. Thanks for sharing the sample poems!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Looks to be a wonderful book, Carol. Thanks for the review and peek inside!

Violet N. said...

What touching poems. What an indomitable spirit. This sounds like a book worth poring over.

Mary Lee said...

She is a fascinating woman. This book sounds like a keeper!

Bridget Magee said...

These poems show an interesting glimpse into Kahlo's life. Must look for this book. =)