Friday, May 6, 2011

Poetry Friday: Found

Yesterday, I spent an hour writing letters to three of my readers. One wrote me about Operation Yes (and quizzed me about my life); two wrote me about Letters From Rapunzel (each with a drawing---one on a custom bookmark with my face in a tower, and the other, a fabulous portrait of Rapunzel with bangs. Because, as the writer explained, of course she would get bored and "experiment" with her hair.)

I answered all of them on plain notebook paper. Notebook paper helps me remember how much fun it was to steal a moment of class time to create a story, something I did a lot of in high school. I also need the lines, because my handwriting has always been of "C" quality (or below.) I save the letters to answer in batches of three to six at a time, because I find it takes the right frame of mind to deliver a response that's both kind and personal and informative--- and once I'm in the zone, I don't want to quit.

If I received more fan mail than I do, I could never keep up. Or afford to relish it. But I don't, so I do---relish it, love it, honor it. I always tell the senders that I appreciate and save their letters, and I hope they save mine. I doubt that one day, a letter I've written will show up on a blog like Letters of Note. But I try to remember that letters change lives. Letters give hope. Letters are a small way of listening to one another.

So, for today's Poetry Friday, I'm featuring a found poem, adapted from a letter sent by E.B. White to the children of Troy, Michigan, to congratulate them on their new public library. I think he knew his letter was more than a formality, or a publicity stunt. It was one alive person speaking to another alive person: I'm here! Find me!

Hide and Seek

A library is a good place to go
when you feel unhappy,
for there, in a book,
you may find encouragement
and comfort.

A library is a good place to go
when you feel bewildered,
for there, in a book,
you may have your question

Books are company,
in sad times and happy times,
for books are people---
people who have managed to stay alive
by hiding between the covers of a book.

You can read more letters to the kids at the library, from authors such as Dr. Seuss, here, at Letters of Note.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Terry at Family Bookshelf (formerly Scrub-a-Dub-Tub)


  1. I love found poetry; it's all a trick of reading in between the lines that I haven't yet mastered.

    And I, too, love reader letters. If I had more, I might be overwhelmed, but for now the joy of writing back is still with me.

  2. Letters are such treasures -- I'm imagining just how thrilled those three readers are going to be to receive a personal letter from you :).

    Love the found poem . . .

  3. To quote your sidebar, "Since when is Happily Ever After as simple as Just Writing Back?"


  4. Oh, I love the words from E.B. White, and I love how carefully you respond to your readers. Letters are becoming a lost art and it gladdens my heart when I see they are still living and breathing. :)

  5. Wonderful poem from that special letter! I especially like the last two lines.

    My 8 yo wrote a letter to Prince William and Princess Kate this week. I am so glad he's gotten the joy of writing letters!

  6. I'm so glad there are people who still love letters and are passing that love down to the next generation. I worry about the PO, and it just makes me so sad when people talk about a day where there isn't paper mail anymore.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.