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Shaping MemoriesReflections of African American Women Writers$
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Joanne Veal Gabbin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604732740

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604732740.001.0001

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(p.142) Ambrosia
Shaping Memories

Nikky Finney

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter describes how great an influence Nikky Finney’s grandmother, Beulah Butler Davenport, was to her and her career. According to Finney, it was Beulah who gave her the hands and heart to be a poet. A self-sufficient farming woman most of her life, she could in one moment wring the life out of a chicken and in the next, with great and delicate care, peel the white, spidery, bitter membrane off the bellies of twelve well-chosen oranges for her Christmas ambrosia. Finney had always been amazed at what Beulah’s hands could do, all in the name of a day’s work. When Finney left home to make her way out in the world, she was guided out into that brand new world by the spirit and power of her grandmother’s hands and by what, with a dedicated touch, could be made in this world.

Keywords:   grandmother, Nikky Finney, Beulah Butler Davenport, poet, farming woman, dedicated touch

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