Editors are looking

Editors are looking
for merit and appeal
The author is convinced

Editors look
at the marketplace
the needs

Editors must consider
a wide variety of books
Children are not all alike

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Karl, Jean. “On Editing.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 445-447.

You can’t teach

You can’t teach
    Make them believe
Creative writing
    You know the secret.

Confessing my doubts
    I would be covering myself
Seemed the most honest approach
    If I were a dismal failure.

A certain amount of learning
    It takes a little push
To write stories
    In that direction
Comes through reading them.

The process of writing
    If one thing doesn’t work
Is largely that of asking questions
    You try another
And solving problems
    You go back.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Bond, Nancy. “On Not Teaching Creative Writing.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 445-447.

The act of reading

The act of reading
worthwhile

Classrooms
will reflect this

Good books are
strewn around

Children share their latest
favorites

Reading aloud
Talking about books

Silent
reading

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Tieman, Joan M. “On Teaching.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 443-444.

From the earliest days of history

From the earliest days of history,
    The position of the storyteller
Men have told stories
    Used to be an honorable one
And kept alive the deeds of mighty heroes
    The storyteller gave pleasure to untold
And explained natural wonders
    Multitudes.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Colwell, Eileen. “On Telling Stories.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 442-443.

I write

I write
    Most poems grow
Totally and absolutely
    By heat lightning
For myself.

I learned instinctively
    That faint glow of lightning
That the author writes
    Over the mountains
To please himself or herself
    That you don’t hear any thunder with.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: McCord, David. “On Writing Poetry.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 438-439.

Books

Books
and children,
I love them!

Sometimes I love
the worst of them
and always, I hope,
the best of them.

I love what some
literary critics
call trash—
well, sometimes
I do.
It’s a sometimes-yes
and sometimes-no.

That critical line
is one that most of us
walk gingerly along,
mentally tossing books
to the right (accepted)
and to the left (rejected).

But the children,
thank God,
cross that critical line.
They hang

trapezelike
from it,
and they dip
or dive
into the bounty
of books
on both sides.
And that’s good.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Sedney, Frances V. “On Being a Parent.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 438.

I may like coming home

I may like coming home,
but when it comes
right down to it,
I prefer going away.

Indeed, every book
is for me
an excuse
to travel,
a chance to incorporate
more places, more times,
more people into a sense of home,
which, over the years,
if you’re addicted enough
to journeying,
becomes indistinguishable
from a sense of self.

“Pray that your journey be long,
Filled with adventures, filled with wisdom.”

Poems exist to set the blood racing,
to shake you out
of old, worn patterns,
to force you
to face life afresh.

Life itself throws
islands of evil
across our paths.

Again and again
I have found in my journeys
that the real joy
invariably takes you
by surprise.
Always, you must
be alert
to possible diversions,
be ready
for spontaneous interruptions,
be willing
to step aside
without inhibition.

“Happiness is not
the reward
man seeks.
His soul
is in the journey.
He was born
for the struggle,
and only tastes his life
in effort
and on the condition
that he is opposed.”

It is time
for me
to get up
and go
again.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Fritz, Jean. “Journeying.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 457-463.

T. S. Eliot has made it to Broadway

T. S. Eliot has made it to Broadway,
and calculus hasn’t.

I have seen those trousers rolled
on tired women and retired men.
I have seen old men
with their hair parted
just behind the ear
with a few thin strands
stretched across their pate.
I have seen them walk
along the beach
and not dare to eat a peach
or a slice of red roast beef
or drink a cup of decaffeinated coffee
after 4:00 p.m.,
and I wonder—
when does caution become reason?

And I wonder,
did any of these men,
did any of these women ever ask,

Do I dare disturb the universe?

It takes more courage
to disturb the neighborhood
than it does
to disturb the universe.

Those who disturb
the universe
have a need
for solitude.

When I examine myself
and my methods of thought,
I come to the conclusion
that the gift of fantasy
has meant more to me
than my talent
for absorbing
positive knowledge.

Perhaps, some day
solitude
will come to be
properly recognized
and appreciated
as the teacher
of personality.
The individual
who has experienced
solitude
will not easily
become a victim
of mass suggestion.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Konigsburg, E. L. “Between a Peach and the Universe” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 464-476.

The Supreme Court outlawed

The Supreme Court outlawed
segregated schools in 1954,
but a decade later
the world of children’s books
had not even arrived
at “separate but equal.”

This situation damages
Black and white children alike,
since literature is one
of the important vehicles
through which we socialize children
and transmit our cultural values
to them.

White children,
finding in the pages of books
only others like themselves,
come to believe
in an inherent
“rightness of whiteness”
that grants
to other races
no important place
or function
in society.

Exposed only to ludicrous
or pathetic images
of Blacks,
white children absorb

even more deeply
the poison of racism—
and grow to perpetuate
this evil
for another generation.

For Black children
the absence
of positive images
in children’s books
was a clear signal
that they themselves
had little worth
in the society
that these books
reflected.

We are no longer
where we once were,
but we are not yet
where we ought to be.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Sims, Rudine. “Whatever Happened to the ‘All-White’ World of Children’s Books?” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 477-484.

It’s difficult

It’s difficult
to hear
the songs
of more than one world
at any one time.
and yet
sometimes
it’s necessary
to forget the songs
of one world

    I could be pompously wise.
    I could be inscrutable.
    I could be the dependable sidekick.
    I could be one of the howling fanatics.
    I could be sadistic, cruel, and cunning.

and learn
the songs of another,
especially if you’re Chinese-American.

Whatever I write,
I’m always aware
that I’m not quite alone.

If I listen
long enough and hard enough,

I just may be able to hear
a few fragments
of a chord of music
or a few broken notes,

and I know
that if I wait long enough
those few broken notes
or those few fragments of a chord
will regenerate themselves
within my own unconscious
and they’ll grow
until the song is once again
made whole.

And I think
the deepest pleasure of writing
is joining
my own voice
with the voices of the past
as they sing
their world
into existence once again.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Yep, Laurence. “A Chinese Sense of Reality.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 485-489.