Almost every April during Poetry Month, one of my library classes learns the now classic Alligator Pie by ‘Canada’s Father Goose’ Dennis Lee. It’s just so much fun to recite…
Lee’s eponymous book, originally illustrated by Frank Newfeld, turns 40 this year. To mark the occasion, HarperCollins held a contest for a published or unpublished artist to illustrate a special anniversary edition board book, to be published this fall.
The unanimous winner, announced January 16th, is Calgary artist Sandy Nichols, graduate of Alberta College of Art and Design.
Her clients include various advertising firms, magazines and corporations throughout Canada, the United States and the UK. She has also illustrated a children’s book, Starring Lorenzo and Einstein Too (Dial/Penguin 2009). Three in a Box
The poem is a screen shot from the downloaded PDF of the entire book shared by the British Library.
“We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.” British Library Digital Scholarship Blog: A Million First Steps
Emily Dickinson, like many writers scribbled words, phrases and complete poems on a wide variety of papers. In The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at The Public Domain review, curator Mike Kelly considers some of the items in the collection at Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, and wonders if the media might have inspired the message.
“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450
“In this instance, Dickinson has cut apart an envelope so all that remains are the flap and a portion of the body. She orients the paper so the point of the flap is at the top then she fills that peak with words: “The way hope builds his house…” Or, to phrase it more directly, she writes a poem about a house on a piece of paper that looks like a house.”
“To be forgot by thee”, Amherst Manuscript # 484
“…it is important to remember that Dickinson was never at a loss for paper, stamps, ink, or pencils. Her father and brother were both lawyers, a profession that depends on ample stores of paper and ink, and many of Dickinson’s extant manuscripts are on standard stationery paper. So when we come across irregular pieces such as this one, one needs to stop and think about her motives…what are we to make of the many…fragments she left behind?”
I imagine Dickinson with a small pencil perched permanently in her hair or on her ear, ready for the instant that inspiration strikes. Too terribly aware that the words must flow as they form in her mind, she did not gamble that they would still be there after scrambling to the writing desk and retrieving stationary, but scribbled them – stream of consciousness – on the nearest media at hand.
How many of those fleeting bursts of creativity have been lost for the lack of a pencil behind our ear?
“This selection of Dickinson manuscripts is merely the tip of the iceberg – all 850 discrete manuscript objects held by Amherst College are freely available online for all to explore. Our hope is that the ability to browse the collection virtually will spark new questions and new approaches to understanding one of the world’s most beloved and enigmatic poets.”
Resist the pressure to judge your students by their academic success. Honour that square peg who is trying to fit into the round hole of school life. Library workers are perfectly situated to try to identify interests beyond school and encourage their development.
“Heres a virtual movie of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) reading the poem by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863) “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The poem is read definitively by Ernest Hare,and was recorded by Thomas Edison 1920″
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