In my never-ending effort to reduce the stacks of New Yorkers and The Horn Book tucked away in various corners of my house, I’ve started purging. It’s a slow process. I can’t just toss these compact containers of wisdom and goodness. So I skim the table of contents, scan a review or two, succumb to Newbery acceptance speeches from years gone by. This is how I stumbled upon a short piece by Jane Yolen recalling her correspondence with Nancy Willard. Their collection of poetry, Among Angels, was the result of this “rather delicious correspondence.” (The Horn Book, March/April 2009, p. 162)
Willard’s Newbery winning book, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn (Harcourt Brace, 1981) was published the year my son was born. And although I read to him from the day we came home from the hospital, William Blake’s Inn didn’t capture my attention until several years later when I went back to school to get my teaching certificate. Of course I loved it immediately and have shared it with students ever since. (My favorite poem, “Two Sunflowers Move Into the Yellow Room,” seems particularly poignant today.) Still, I’m embarrassed to confess that I wasn’t aware of Willard’s poetry for adults until I read Yolen’s piece earlier this week.
After spending just a few hours reading what Willard poems are available online, I’m in awe of her keen observation, metaphor, and wisdom. My favorite so far is “In the Salt Marsh.” Unfortunately, I can’t find the printed text to share, but here is a video version.
Jane’s reminiscence also inspired me to create this found poem:
like cascading rain
Let’s all send poems of sublime love to the people of Ukraine today. And then be sure to visit Tricia Stohr-Hunt for the Poetry Friday Roundup.