Friday, May 04, 2012

Poetry Friday: Jane Yolen

I got back yesterday from the IRA conference in Chicago.  I had a great time there; frankly, I would have enjoyed it even without the conference.  I enjoyed traveling with a fellow teacher from school.  We did some Chicago sightseeing - though not as much as we would have liked.  We found a Target close to our hotel, and walked there three times in the four days we were there.  We enjoyed the fact that the electricity never went off - not once! - and that our room had hot water and internet access. 

But the conference was really wonderful, too.  I heard many interesting speakers, but the highlight for me was the author presentations.  I will blog more about some of what I learned in the next week or so.  But today I want to gush a little.  I was so excited to get to meet Jane Yolen.  She and J. Patrick Lewis were signing Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs.  I knew that if I got to meet her I would just babble about how much I love her and ask her to be my best friend and maybe even cry, so I thought beforehand about what I wanted to say to her.  I wanted to tell her how impressed I am by her generosity with her writing, the way she shares it so freely.  Here's a recent example of what I mean.  Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect posted a prompt for her Monday Poetry Stretch, and who was the first commenter but Jane Yolen, with a beautiful poem that brought tears to my eyes. 

When I said this to her, Jane Yolen looked up and me and listened.  I'm sure she hears stuff like that all day long, but she smiled and said, "I love it.  I love participating in the conversation."

I told her that she has inspired me to be more open and generous with my own writing, and then went away with my signed book, feeling thrilled. 

Since getting to be a Jane Yolen fangirl was one of the best parts of the conference for me, I'm going to post a poem of hers.  It's the only one on the Poetry Foundation site - I wonder why they don't have more? - and it's a good one. 

Earth Day

By Jane Yolen

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.

Here's the rest.

And here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.


violet said...

What a lovely tribute to a great children's poet. I've seen her contributions at Miss Rumphius Effect too, and marveled at her generosity.

Books4Learning said...

great poem for Earth day! thanks for sharing :)

jama said...

I'm so happy you got to meet Jane (and Pat Lewis), Ruth!

Linda at teacherdance said...

Special time, Ruth, and to meet that special woman is terrific! I love her books, I love her poetry. Happy to hear you had a good time, & you'll be telling more about your time at the convention!

Nicole Stallworth said...

I love Jane Yolen too but I am more familiar with her children's books. I should find more of her poems to read.