Thursday, June 15, 2006

United States Poet Laureate

At the beginning of this month Donald Hall was named the incoming US poet laureate. While I walked last night I listened to an interview with him on our local public radio station. I was excited because he just happens to have written one of my very favorite of all time childrens books, 'Ox Cart Man'. I would read it over and over with my children. I loved it because of the symplicity of the story, the cycle it told of a simple life, and the touches of tenderness and reverence. I also loved it for the illustrations.

"Then he sold his ox, and kissed him good-bye on his nose." Love it!

They were done by Barbara Cooney, a Maine native. She wrote and illustrated my second favorite book, 'Miss Rumphius'. The illustrations in both books were the stuff of wall quilts for me. I found them at a time when I was heavy into hand applique and hand quilting. I made several hangings for my own enjoyment based on the illustrations. Where they are now I have no idea nor do I care. They just needed to be made.

And in all the times I read that story to my children I never realized it was a poem. If I had thought about it from a literary standpoint I could have figured it out, but for me it was pure story. Maybe that's what a good poem is all about.


Deborah said...

I don't think I've read OxCart Man. Now I must check it out from the library. And even try to download the interview. We adore Miss Rumphius. One of my most wonderful memories of Maine is being enthralled by the lupines on our drive from Maine to Vermont in June one summer.

Elle said...

I love children's books and their illustrations. The ones in my favorites are as famililar to me as the stories themselves. It's always nice to go back and read one that you haven't in a long time. Instantly you remember the age you were when you discovered it.