I have heard the superb writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak say that he does not set out to make works for children: He tries to make good stories and pictures. As someone who has read aloud to children many times, I feel grateful to Sendak and to Margaret Wise Brown and Dr. Seuss and other writers who have rescued me from the shallow stuff marketed as “for children” that I sometimes have found myself reading aloud.
and, on Edward Lear, Walter de la Mare, and Robert Louis Stevenson,
All three of these poets do not approach the experiences and interests of childhood with a knowing chuckle or a tidy closure of reassurance. They respect the imagination, including its elements of mystery and dread.
Read the entire piece here. Very much of a piece with Mr. Pinsky’s 2007 article for Slate, “In Praise of Difficult Poetry”. Today’s article includes pieces by all three poets, some read aloud by Robert Pinsky, who is Slate‘s poetry editor, and the former US Poet Laureate, and who will be joining in the discussion of classic children’s poetry in the comments section this week. And Slate’s poetry podcast page is here.
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Additional Robert Pinsky links:
As Poet Laureate, Mr. Pinsky created the Favorite Poem Project to encourage Americans to read their favorite verses aloud.
Last year saw the publication of Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud, a book and CD set edited by Mr. Pinsky.
Also good to read: the 2007 Mother Jones article on Robert Pinsky the poetry popularizer, and Mr. Pinsky himself, “In Praise of Difficult Poetry” (mentioned above), and on “Poetry and American Memory”.