Nancy Willard

Rating: 4.67
Rating: 4.67

Nancy Willard Poems

Who is this fish, still wearing its wealth,
flat on my drainboard, dead asleep,
its suit of mail proof only against the stream?
What is it to live in a stream,
...

The dragonfly at rest on the doorbell—
too weak to ring and glad of it,
but well mannered and cautious,
...

'Ah, William, we're weary of weather,'
said the sunflowers, shining with dew.
'Our traveling habits have tired us.
...

Nancy Willard Biography

Nancy Willard (born June 26, 1936) is a novelist, a poet, and a children's writer and occasional illustrator. Her 1981 collection of poems, A Visit to William Blake's Inn, won the Newbery Medal as that year's most distinguished contribution to American children's literature. Willard was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she later received the B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and won five Hopwood Awards for creative writing. She also studied at Stanford University, where she received her M.A. Her first novel, Things Invisible to See (1985), is set in her home town of Ann Arbor in the 1940s. Two brothers become involved with a paralyzed young woman, and it "ends with a baseball game that anticipates the film Field of Dreams in its player lineup of baseball luminaries.[clarification needed] Susan Fromberg Schaeffer said the novel "has the quality of a fairy tale ... a paradigm of life as a Manichean conflict between good and evil.'" As of 2005, Willard lives in Poughkeepsie, New York where she lectures at Vassar College.)

The Best Poem Of Nancy Willard

A Wreath To The Fish

Who is this fish, still wearing its wealth,
flat on my drainboard, dead asleep,
its suit of mail proof only against the stream?
What is it to live in a stream,
to dwell forever in a tunnel of cold,
never to leave your shining birthsuit,
never to spend your inheritance of thin coins?
And who is the stream, who lolls all day
in an unmade bed, living on nothing but weather,
singing, a little mad in the head,
opening her apron to shells, carcasses, crabs,
eyeglasses, the lines of fisherman begging for
news from the interior-oh, who are these lines
that link a big sky to a small stream
that go down for great things:
the cold muscle of the trout,
the shinning scrawl of the eel in a difficult passage,
hooked-but who is this hook, this cunning
and faithful fanatic who will not let go
but holds the false bait and the true worm alike
and tears the fish, yet gives it up to the basket
in which it will ride to the kitchen
of someone important, perhaps the Pope
who rejoices that his cook has found such a fish
and blesses it and eats it and rises, saying,
"Children, what is it to live in the stream,
day after day, and come at last to the table,
transfigured with spices and herbs,
a little martyr, a little miracle;
children, children, who is this fish?"

Nancy Willard Comments

lilyyy 16 January 2018

the a poem that i wanted didn't show up: (

2 2 Reply
Karen Blase 30 April 2017

I was saddened to learn of Nancy Willard's death in February of this year. Her award-winning book, A Visit to William Blake's Inn was read many, many times as my children were growing up. My son is now 39 and he and his wife, Brandy are celebrating the birth of their first child, Amelia Rose. We all agreed that Amelia Rose needed her very own copy of A Visit to William Blake's Inn. Many more years of lyrical, magical poetry ahead. I hope this message might reach her family so they know what a precious gift Nancy Willard was to children and families everywhere. Karen Blase kblase1@gmail.com

1 4 Reply
Terence Collings 20 July 2016

Highly lyrical, whimsical interpretation. Original ideas, with vague, tho evocative sly sub texts I shall re-revisit Ms. Willard with keen expectations!

3 3 Reply

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