Today, my little corner of the blogosphere
washes ashore with
a picture book poetry collection and artwork
that may make you sail fast,
to the nearest beach.
On a recent humid, landlocked night at the library,
I hooked into the splashy, floaty cover of SAIL AWAY.
This bounty is a group of poems by Langston Hughes,
from puppet maker, painter, creative wizard,
Many readers know that Mr. Bryan is a long-time,
year-round dweller of an island off the coast of Maine.
His artwork collage compositions for this collection
are rolling, liquid beauties.
(A surprise on the endpapers reflects his love of his Mother, is all I will say about his process for this book.)
Not many of us – me included – are familiar
with the years that the late, great, Mr. Hughes
labored as a seaman.
This book tells us that his appreciation of the
salt life stems from jobs he landed on ships and boats
in Europe and Africa.
by Langston Hughes
“…We dip and dive,
Rise and roll,
Hide and are hidden
On the sea….”
lines from “Long Trip”
My first editor in the news bureau where I worked
upon college graduation was also a licensed
U.S. Coast Guard Captain.
Capt. Mike, who was as gentle a wordsmith
& boatsmith as you could find, would
understand those lines.
The seas become inscrutably flat at
times, which is how our family likes it
when we pop up a big umbrella at the shore.
But who knows what flat water covers?
by Langston Hughes
How strangely still
The water is today.
It is not good
To be so still that way.”
I hope you can ship off to your favorite pond, lake,
creek, river, bay, ocean, or backyard kiddie pool,
with Capt. Hughes & Capt. Bryan.
I’d like to give a basket of tumbled-in-surf, St. George
Island, Florida, shells to the brilliant publishing team that
hauled this catch ashore for the world to sing.
For more on Ashley Bryan, I found an important
interview from The Horn Book, with details about
Of the many online resources about Langston Hughes, I think this
one from Howard University Library is especially wonderful.
And I hope you swim back here, likely sometime
in August, after this blog returns from break.