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
Ozark Family Voices stopped meeting as an organization some time ago but we maintain a FB spot to remind families to read to their young children as often as possible, especially from birth through five. Here’s the address. https://www.facebook.com/ozarksfamilyvoices. I hope you will drop by once in a while and leave your own comments. So far I’m the only one posting thoughts and I’m beginning to feel like a voice in the woods. Thanks so much.
After two futile days of floundering around I found the voice I wanted yesterday. Now I have one good poem and know where to find more. It took a villanelle, of all things, to lead me there.
I’m eager to see what today brings. I think it’s going to be good.