Nancy Willard

Nancy Willard

Hello all Poetry Friday seekers.
I am grateful to Heidi who organizes it here this week.

This week, I am spending time with
my Nancy Willard books,
especially, THE SALT MARSH,
TELLING TIME,
A VISIT TO WILLIAM BLAKE’S INN &
STEP LIGHTLY, Poems for the Journey,
collected by Nancy Willard.

I want to pick one to share Saturday,
when I feel fortunate to be meeting with
teens at the request of a legendary
librarian I treasure, Ms. Lenita Joe.

Since Nancy Willard treasured every poem
she placed in
STEP LIGHTLY,
reading them feels like two chairs are pulled up
before a big window overlooking a salt marsh,
tea is poured and
a conversation begins.

Nearly every selection speaks to me, especially
the poems about writing,
but for this post I’m sharing two lines,
from Emily Hahn, in her poem,

“Wind Blowing”
“I can see everything, all around the earth;
Red sun dying, gold sun’s birth.”

c. Emily Hahn, all rights reserved

I feel that is Nancy’s world now,
stepping lightly,
knowing and seeing everything.

Here is a sweet memory written
just a few days ago by her friend
and former neighbor, poet
Lee Bennett Hopkins.

I was thrilled
to meet Nancy Willard in Roanoke, VA
once, at the graduate program
in children’s literature.

She sat in on a creative writing seminar
I enjoyed so much, led by
Han Nolan. She was available to us –
we were all big fans. I treasure the moon she drew
in my copy of NIGHTGOWN OF THE SULLEN MOON.

When she learned that my thesis
for Hollins University included
serious poems about bears in history, she
suggested I look up the work of her poet
friend, Galway Kinnell.
Reading him was rough work, but it helped me.
In expectation of my editing & layout of a
chapbook of bear poems, experiences &
images, I feel fortunate to have been
touched by Nancy Willard’s
magical presence that summer.

I’ve previously mentioned her books here.
and also here, where I shared her signature artwork
a gift that graces books of many admirers.

And I think NW would have liked the recent honor that LBH earned in my state.