Monday, May 31, 2010

Poetry Friday (Memorial Day weekend edition)

Things slow down on Memorial Day Weekend, especially if you stay in the city. So here's a belated Poetry Friday post in commemoration of this weekend, Siefried Sassoon's "Everyone Sang." I know this would better posted on Armistice Day, as that was when it was written -- days after World War I was declared over on November 11, 1918. But in my mind, there is never a day when a poem about the end of war is not welcome.

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on—on—and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

-- Siegfried Sassoon

(with thanks to Richard Barnes of the New York Times for the photograph of starlings over Rome)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How the Sphinx Got to the Museum

Jessie Hartland's terrific book is coming out this fall. Featured at BEA -- with its own timeline poster -- it will be on the shelves of the Metropolitan Museum and bookstores all over the country this fall.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Margaret Wise Brown Birthday Party

Let's call it the First Annual MWB Birthday Party, because I for one would like to do it again. There were cupcakes, baffled tourists, pleased parents, delighted cupcake-eating kids, random teens, and some stalwart librarians, game artists, and children's book enthusiasts. Dianne Hess of Scholastic Press stole the day by actually dressing like Margaret Wise Brown. Betsy Bird knowledgeably informed us that Margaret and Ursula Nordstrom would have had their protest tea on the north stairs of the Library, as that was the entrance to the children's room. But we had our celebration on the front steps, and we here at Bunny Eat Bunny hope you celebrated the life of this fabulous woman with fur and poetry and sensuality and rash behavior.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Margaret Wise Brown Birthday Sing-in: May 23

Margaret Wise Brown deserves the laurel leaf crown for many reasons -- the last line of The Runaway Bunny, the real moths in the pretend Little Fur Family, Maine -- but the prime reason is this: She once staged a literary tea on the steps of the New York Public Library in defiance of Anne Carroll Moore. Margaret was defiant because Miss Moore had chosen not to include Miss Brown's books in the NYPL's children's collection. Leonard Marcus tells the story beautifully in his wonderful book, Awakened by the Moon, but, in a nutshell:

Miss Moore hosted an annual tea party at the main branch of the library for authors she supported. Margaret and her adored editor, Ursula Nordstrom, set up a tea for themselves on the library steps, which meant that all the included authors and publishers had to step right over the refusées in order to enter the event. Very naughty. Very Margaret.

The 100th anniversary of Margaret Wise Brown's birthday is Sunday, May 23. I'll bring cupcakes if you'll come out to sing Happy Birthday on the steps of the New York Public at 2PM. Isn't it the least we can do for her? And wouldn't she have loved it?