Kent Brown passed through Springfield yesterday on his way to Texas. We had a good visit, went out to eat, and Kent spent the night with us. This morning he’ll be on his way.
I met Kent in 1991 in his office in Honesdale, Pennsylvania where he served Highlights as head of the fledgling book division, Boyds Mills Press. Bee Cullinan, who was his poetry editor, wanted to publish my poetry so Kent and I met to discuss details. We agreed that I was free to go on placing my other work wherever I wished but that Kent would be my exclusive poetry publisher. We shook hands to seal the bargain.
I came home and got busy. Larry Rosler became my editor and together we created more than twenty books over the next several years, many of them poetry, some nonfiction, and some fiction. I returned to Honesdale from time to time and years later I went there to give poetry workshops at “The Barn.”
When David Harrison Elementary School was named for me, Kent and his wife, Jody, flew to Springfield to support me on that special night. I consider Kent Brown to be a pioneer in children’s publishing for establishing Wordsong, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press dedicated to poetry. Thanks to his dedication and tireless efforts, many poets have found their voices and careers have been bolstered or begun. These days he is no longer involved in the Highlights operations. I understand but am sorry that the industry has lost the services of such a giant in children’s literature.