Friday, December 23, 2016

Facebook Discussion With Other Arthur Ransome Childhood Readers

"Laura had read in Arthur Ransome you had to tack to sail upwind,  you tacked from one side of the lake to the other to sail against the wind."  In an essay about childhood reading published at Salt River Review, I remembered Arthur Ransome. 

On Facebook a couple of days ago:  "I can attach a crop from The Summer Reading Club in 5th Grade - I was re-reading Arthur Ransome books to make reports the summer I was ten..."and
"I recall how terribly interested I was to discover a biography of Arthur Ransome in the 1980s. I think it must have been The Life of Arthur Ransome by Hugh Brogan, shown on the internet. I read the biography with a lot of enjoyment. I discovered many things I did not know about the author."  I shared an earlier blog entry about The Summer Reading Club.

This year I watched the 1970s Swallows and Amazons movie in episodes on the library internet computer.  At some point I expect I will be able to view the new 2016 movie, Swallows and Amazons.  To read some of the older titles, in older formats, was to enjoy other illustrators than Arthur Ransome, especially Helene Carter.  I re-read parts of The Picts and the Martyrs during the year and realize how beautifully written the story is – although Helene Carter is not present in the version I read, the book is a wonderful read without those illustrations.  So it was the writing that was wonderful for me at the time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Read This Poem at the December Open Mike at King's Books

Christmas Angels 1960s

White Christmas 
A Poem From The 1990s 

My list of birds I saw in the winter.  Robin,
Spotted Towhee, American Widgeon, Surf-Scoter -

Herring Gull, Woodpecker, Oregon Junco -
who appears here in the bushes, inside
the flowering camelia at the door.  Once
I wanted to see White Christmas.  No one else

wanted to go.   But my mother let me off
in the dark above the Rialto; the neon, but
only the street, dark, and other cars.
Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Buffle-Head -

Hooded Merganser, Heron, Hawk, Wren -
White Christmas was fine.  Only the worn
gummy carpet, the curtain that slowly flung
open and the Technicolor.  I was in junior high,

but there was nothing wrong in being alone
at the movies.  We never ascended the levels
at the Roxy to the stained glass.
Western Grebe, Cormorant, Sparrow, Crow -

Goose, small tit inside the many blossoms
of the flowering quince.They restored the Roxy,
the old Pantages.  In the dark we never noticed
that the curtain was magnificent.
Now during the vigor of arms at violins
we glance up at a sculpted muse with sheaves
of grain.  And the Rialto, too, is restoration.
And on the street of stores a chickadee

might try the new branches of the saplings.
Today was tree day.  Blocks I walked from school
are anchored by them, eight each way, small pears
and they are flowering.  And a sparrow,

the sparrow who would greet you kindly
at the bus stop, who would stop and stand
and look from concrete that I thought went
to the center of the earth, but that was not,

perhaps, that deep, but ony a thin shell
over top soil.  The mallard, the pigeon,
the others I could not recall.  Or could not name.
The Varied Thrush, the Flicker, the Golden-Eye.

And the Eared Grebe, and the Sparrow
with the stripe, the dark one.