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Posts Tagged ‘EB White’

As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore.  Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the week leading up to their engagement.  Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.

We are excited to welcome author and friend Lizi Boyd, and her latest work , an enchanting picture book called Inside Outside. Ms. Boyd has written and illustrated many children’s books but her talent doesn’t stop there. She also creates other works of delight such as papers and stationery. She also notes that her dogs, Olive and Zuli, assisted in the making of Inside Outside.  Other reviewers agree with us that Inside Outside is lovely and inspired.  Publishers Weekly says, “The story’s greatest charm is in its portrait of a boy who lives alone and is constantly (yet tranquilly) busy.”  We are proud to note that she lives in our hometown of Norwich, Vermont.

Ms. Boyd will appear at the Norwich Bookstore on March 30th from 10 am to noon.  While the book is geared to preschoolers, all ages will enjoy it and all are welcome during this event.  And, this time, no reservations are required though you can call (802) 649-1114 to pre-order your signed copy of Inside Outside.

 1. What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

I loved books by EB White; Mistress Masham’s Repose, by TH White,  JRR Tolkein and the little books by Edward Gorey and Maurice Sendack.  I was given a collection of poems by ee cummings when I was twelve; short verse and small images were strong influences.  Our house was filled with art books and artists and at 13 I was given a modern Danish desk. The top drawer was filled with small, spiral bound sketchbooks and I’ve been filling little books since then.

2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?  I’d like to have tea with Ursula Nordstrom.  She was the director of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls.  There is a wonderful book of her letters, Dear Genius, filled with her encouragement to many: Sendak, Gorey, C. Hurd, Margaret Wise Brown, EB White and on and on. You can hear Nordstrom’s wonderful voice so it’s as intimate as sharing tea.

3. What books are currently on your bedside table?

I have stacks of books by my bed, so plenty of choices. Winter reading is varied – warming the room, filling it and quieting it too. Diving Belles by Lucy Wood; Crusoe’s Daughter by Jane Gardham; The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny; Winter World by Bernard d Heinrich; The Best of It by Kay Ryan; The Diaries of Paul Klee; Edora Welty.

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Peter Money Interview (Click to Listen)

We were lucky enough to spend a long, rainy lunch hour with Peter Money, a Vermont poet who hails from such diverse places as Napa, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Cape Cod, Ohio, Dublin and currently Brownsville, VT.  The conversation was truly delightful (and eating Lisa’s pizza and sipping tea didn’t hurt either).

A favorite

Peter’s description of himself as a scavenger in life and in reading led our conversation through a diverse array of topics including:  reading for the purpose of writing, the power of a gift of a book, the Cape Cod Melody Tent, travel in India and Australia, the difference one person can make in the events of the world – in particular Rachel Corrie to whom Peter’s latest book Che is dedicated – the things we use and keep as bookmarks, empty spaces,  the difference email and the internet make in the serendipity of life and reading as a means of developing empathy.

Sprinkled throughout the conversation were quotes by a former teacher of Peter’s –  Allen Ginsberg (“ordinary is made extraordinary by your attention to it” or  the buddhist reminder “Ground Path Fruition” or thinking of writing as “funky independent thought“).   Peter also modeled a superb teaching technique of being able to circle around and tie seemingly unrelated thoughts together.

Speaking of circling back around: we end this episode by playing a little ditty by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler that not only alludes to one of the themes of our discussion (beach combing) but also provides a mellow finish to a lovely talk.

Actual books we dicussed ranged from:

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses – First published in 1885, A Child’s Garden of Verses has served as an  introduction to poetry for many generations. Stevenson’s poems celebrate childhood in all its forms.

E.B. White’s works – A writer at The New Yorker and the author of many books of essays, E. B. White also wrote the children’s books Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan.

Gregory Maguire’s Matchless – Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl”.

Justine by Lawrence Durrell – Set among the glamour and corruption of 1930s and 1940s Alexandria, the novels of Durrell’s “Alexandria Quartet” (Justine is the first) follow the shifts in allegiances and situations among a diverse group of characters. Peter carried a copy with him while traveling 30 years ago and had that copy with him when we spoke (complete with original bookmarks).

Iraqi Writer Saadi Youssef who has translated Leaves of Grass and Little Prince into Arabic and whose own work is carried by University of Minnesota Press.

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard – from the foreword by John R. Stilgoe – A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics to carpentry take on enhanced-and enchanted-significances. Every reader of it will never see ordinary spaces in ordinary ways.

Collected Poems of George Oppen – Oppen, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969, has long been acknowledged as one of America’s foremost modernists.  He was hailed by Ezra Pound as “a serious craftsman, a sensibility which is not every man’s sensibility and which has not been got out of any other man’s book.”

A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel – From tablets to CD-ROM, from book thieves to book burners, bibliophiles and saints, noted essayist Alberto Manguel follows the 4,000-year-old history of the written work whose true hero is the reader.

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde – The Gift defends creativity and of its importance in a culture increasingly governed by money. This book is cherished by artists, writers, musicians, and thinkers.

Hear Peter read some of his work set to original compositions.

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Listen Now to Ken Cadow on the Book Jam

Another first-time author and Vermont resident, Ken Cadow, joins us to kick off the Book Jam for the month of May (full disclosure: Ken is Lisa LC’s husband). His new book Alfie Runs Away , published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is a gem for the read-aloud-crowd and looks at the age-old subject of running away. Cadow’s story, however, offers up a twist on the theme: Alfie’s mom actually helps him to pack his bag!

A little girl looses her tooth and goes around the block. Or is it around the world?

But “Alfie” is not the focus of our discussion. Instead, we talk about the books that Cadow would pack  if he were to run away – both as a little boy and now, as a writer of children’s books who’s all grown-up.  Where the Wild Things Are was his earliest favorite story (his local librarian even had a copy reserved just for him!) and would be the first in his suitcase. Next would  be the works of Peter Sis
(MadlenkaTibet Through the Red Box, and The Wall:Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain) as “every page” he observes, “is like walking through a mural.”

A story of creating one's own family

Cadow’s bag wouldn’t be complete without the Chronicles of Narnia or the works of E.B. White.  He particularly “appreciates E.B. White’s sense of place” and his “awareness of the cycle of life and death.”  One Man’s Meat: A Book of Collected Essays is one of White’s books that Cadow rereads annually. As is The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell with “decorations” (and not illustrations, mind you) by Maurice Sendak). This enchanting story, one Cadow has read to his own children countless times, tells the tale of a lonely hunter who lives on an island who creates his own family from a mermaid, a bear, a lynx and a finally, a baby.

And Cadow “wows” the Lisas with a little know piece of Tolkein knowledge from the Lord of the Rings. Listen all the way to the end of this episode, and you’ll even hear some unedited, encouraging words from J Lisa C (she’s nice and funny even when she thinks the tape is turned off!).

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