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Here I am in Ossining,New York, with foster brothers Kendall andBrad Buchanan. Sadly, Brad is no longer with us.
I was born on October 20, 1950, to Bernice and James Grimes. As befits a poet of African-American descent, I was born in Harlem, home of the Harlem Renaissance. When I was 13, I would give my first public poetry reading at the Countee Cullen Library, one block away from Harlem Hospital, where I came into the world.

My family was troubled before I was added to it, and for the first five years of my life, my parents separated and reunited countless times before their final split. During this time, my older sister, Carol, and I were bounced around from one relative to another, one foster home to another, just like the lead character in Jazmin's Notebook.

At 5-1/2, my sister and I were separated. She was sent to one home, and I was sent to another. (Is it any wonder I write about foster homes in books like Hopscotch Love, Road to Paris, and A Dime a Dozen?) Though many of the foster homes were horrendous, the last home in Ossining, in upstate New York, was a refuge where I enjoyed security and a sense of permanence for the first time in my life. It was a place where I knew I was loved.

My foster parents had two children of their own, two boys who I became very close to, and I still keep in touch with Kendall, the older of the two. It was while living in Ossining that I first began to write.

After penning my first poem, there was no turning back!

At age ten, my mother remarried and invited my sister and me to come back "home." I loved my foster family, but I thought it was important that I get to know my birth-mother, so I accepted her invitation. I moved back to the city. Sadly, my sister didn't stay with us for very long.

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