For the translator

For the translator
there is always
this haunting conflict:
Do I translate literally,
following each word,
staying as close as possible
to the text,
or do I follow
the spirit
of the story?

Yes, children’s books keep alive
a sense of nationality,
but they also keep alive a sense
of humanity.
They describe
their native land lovingly,
but they also describe faraway lands
where unknown brothers live.
They understand the essential quality
of their own race,
but each of them is a messenger
that goes beyond mountains and rivers,
beyond the seas, to the very ends
of the world
in search
of new friendships.

Every country gives
and every country receives—
innumerable are the exchanges—
and so it comes about that
in our first impressionable years
the universal republic of childhood
is born.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Carus, Marianne. “And the Whole Earth Was of One Language.” 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. 498-505.

Advertisements

We’re here

We’re here
to speak for
and against
rubbish.

Books are fun. Books
are wonderful. They
make me feel
at home
in the world. They
tell me things
I want to know, and
then I ask more
questions.
The more curious
I am, the more
they tell me. They
make me want
to do,
to be. They
let me be
myself and someone else
at the same time. They
make me
laugh. They make me
cry. They
make me
sing with joy,
with loving, with living.

What children admire
they emulate.
Through good books
and the characters
met in them,
children may learn
patterns of kindness and gentleness,
realize that they can be courageous
and strong without violence,
identify themselves with independence
and achievement,
feel a desire
to cherish and protect,
which is the greatest element
of love.

One age’s rubbish
may well become
another age’s classics.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Heins, Ethel; Field, Carolyn W.; Sedney, Frances V. “For and Against Rubbish.” 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. 506-515.

When you write

When you write,
you put yourself,
what you think

and your underlying attitudes,
both conscious and unconscious
on the line.

To write now,
at this particular period,
is to write at a time
when opinions, discussions, and arguments
over and about children’s literature
are reported
bountifully,
noisily,
and frequently.

And no matter what
viewpoint your books reflect,
you can be certain
you’ll displease someone.

You put yourself
both conscious and unconscious
as pieces of fiction

not as tracts
to guide the young
and growing mind.

The writer finds him- or herself
defending not the quality of a book,
but the inside
of his or her own mind.

Writers project outward
the perceptions and assumptions
that make up their myths.

Dissent does arise.

Accept the controversy,
because to be
without controversy
is to be silent,
or afraid,
or dead.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Holland, Isabel. “The Impact of Controversy on Popularity.” 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. 516-521.

Shouldn’t we

Shouldn’t we
play a part
in making it
comprehensible?

Do not let children read anything
that you have not read yourself.

Read to them,
and teach them
to look for allusions
in books.

Give children something
they are growing up to,
not away from.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Heins, Ethel. “”Go, and Catch a Falling Star’: What Is a Good Children’s Book?” 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. 522-532.