Brickbat: Black Diamonds


Grace Pritt, a student at West Virginia's Hurricane High School, earned a slot as a finalist in the Poetry Out Loud contest and an invitation to recite the poem she'd used in the contest at the Governor's Arts Awards ceremony. Then, state officials discovered that the poem she'd performed was "Black Diamonds," a work by Charleston poet Crystal Good that honors the widows of the 29 men who died in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster. "I really hate to do this to you, but because your poem deals with coal and many state representatives will be there, our director wants you to choose a different poem," Division of Culture and History grant coordinator Tabitha Walter told Pritt in a email. But after media picked up the story, officials said there had been some miscommunication and they'd love for Pritt to perform "Black Diamonds."