In her twelfth poetry collection, Willard, who also writes children’s books (one of which won the Newbery Medal), begins this bright and wind-whirled collection with a tribute to her characters, that is, those who inspire her imagination. Such as the girl in wartime who is denied her longed-for birthday bicycle but finds comfort and beauty in watching her mother mix a pitcher of Kool-Aid. Willard writes of “a long leap of a lad,” a phrase brimming with joy, mischief, motion, and promise that neatly captures her cadence, however somber or mysterious her subject. Her settings are fairy-tale vivid, and how quickly we’re taken away by the strong current of each glimmering poem. A call to prance in “Shoes” (“Put your best foot forward / and carry no map”) is matched by still lives, including a radiant ode to a glass goblet. And Willard’s dreamy and secretive landscapes and seascapes, including “The Live Sea Scrolls,” are vibrant with animals and birds, thrillingly fanciful, and covertly incisive. Willard is a poet of both buoyancy and profundity. --Donna Seaman
--This text refers to the
About the Author
Nancy Willard was educated at the University of Michigan and Stanford University. She has written two novels, seven books of stories and essays, and eleven books of poetry. A winner of the Devins Memorial Award, she has had NEA grants in both fiction and poetry. Her book Water Walker
was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She won the Newbery Medal for A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.
She teaches in the English department at Vassar College.