STEP LIGHTLY by Nancy--Ed. Willard


Poems for the Journey
Age Range: 8 - 12
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paper 0-15-202052-7 According to the introduction, this gathering of poetry from Europe and the Americas began as clippings in a shoebox, collected over years by Willard (Magic Cornfield, 1997, etc). The selections are meaty, with D.H. Lawrence’s three-line “The White Horse” and Robert Frost’s deliciously eerie, six-page dialogue, “The Witch of Coîs,” at the extremes for length, and make an eclectic mix, leaning toward newer poets but including a Mother Goose rhyme, Christopher Smart’s “For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry,” and “Donal Og,” a traditional lament for love betrayed. The arrangement is, broadly, by subject, beginning with Emily Dickinson’s “Will There Really Be a ‘Morning’?” and closing with poems featuring night, death, and dreams. Selections in between touch on wind and water, sensory epiphanies (Pablo Neruda sings an “Ode to a Pair of Socks” while Theodore Roethke’s “Slug” is about stepping on one), animals, children, old folk, and even bodies, as in Lucille Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips.” Few of the poems were written specifically for an audience of the young, but those who aren’t thrown by e.e. cummings’s “If there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have” should comprehend the syntax and content of the rest. It’s a highly personal collection, chosen with a fine ear for language and rightfully commended by Willard for “celebrating the ordinary in an unordinary way.” (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-15-201849-2
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998