On balmy Tuesday we took the surviving hibiscus from its winter quarters in the breakfast room and set it outside. Who knew it was going to drop to near freezing last night? Being the good care givers we are, we wrapped a sheet around the at-risk plant and hoped it would survive the night. The only problem was that the product of our labor resembled a ghost or worse standing just outside our patio door. I hoped I would remember it was there this morning on my way toward the kitchen for coffee. Otherwise I figured I would need something stronger.
My thanks to everyone who has preordered AFTER DARK so far. Have I shown you a sample yet? Here’s one from the back cover.
Raccoon’s sly, been around,
had her share of ups and downs,
light-fingered nighttime thief,
dines in style on what you leave.
Fading shadow, shaggy streak,
vanishes silently up a tree.
Knows how to pilfer, when to climb,
an escape artist, one of a kind.
(c) 2020 David L. Harrison, used with permission
from AFTER DARK, 2020, Wordsong,
an imprint of Boyds Mills & Kane
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.
In a chat with Sam Bommarito yesterday (Dr. Sam is co-editor with Glenda Nugent of Missouri Reader and incoming president of Missouri ILA), I learned that “the poetry issue is the official all-time record holder, most readers of a journal we’ve ever published. I’m continuing to promote it. When I write folks about MR I always give them a link to that issue as the example of MR at it’s best.”
He’s talking about the Winter 2019 issue: POETRY: A PATH TO LITERACY (Volume 42/Issue 2) dedicated in large part to discussing children’s poetry and presenting research that supports the uses of poetry in the classroom. I was privileged to write the lead article but there are a number of excellent pieces contributed by authorities such as Mary Jo Fresch and Timothy Rasinski. Here’s the link. https://joom.ag/o1ta