Poetry Friday: Poetry Angels

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:

send poems
holding light
watching shadows
like cascading rain
a tale
sublime love.

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.

9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Poetry Angels

  1. Catherine,
    My husband has bought an amazing scanner that goes so fast and is intuitive and saves to pdfs and they are not all that expensive. There is a new really more advanced one coming out soon and the insider price if you belong to some group is around $350. Something like Hornbook could be scanned perfectly in like 5 min. I bet. He keeps urging me to purge. I have to, but it is a mammoth task though necessary. It’s the library collection that is my most worrisome task. I want it to go intact but I need to find the right person. God willing I hope to begin anew my school visits where I take in suitcases of poetry books, give talks to kids and hook them on poetry, help them write and also let them be immersed completely in the books which they get to select from the treasure chest table.(I have to have a system so I always get them back, however!) I have had some really good success with my visits, but I need to get going in hopes that maybe I can schedule next year, if Covid does not reoccur. I have to be careful with that. If you want more info on scanners let me know. And I think the sorting function to save them so you can access sometime is good and easy (would I do this???hmmmm not sure, it is not like browsing real stuff……) now to go back and read your lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “How faithfully grass holds the shape of the sea it loves” Oh, my heart soared with these lines and this wonderful poem of the salt marshes. How did I not know of Nancy Willard?! Thanks for sharing your treasures today, both found and created.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Catherine! I love this post. First, I hear you on purging. I have “saved” some items from my stash by using the paper for collage and paper crafting. Is your found poem from this pile of Horn Books? It’s beautiful! Simply words but beautifully set between the wings. I love it. Thanks for the video link. I need to watch it later when my earbuds are nearby 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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