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.

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