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.