Friday, July 16, 2010

17th July Karla Kuskin (1932 - 2009)

Karla Kuskin is an American author, poet and illustrator. I think she will be remembered most for her poems. They appear deceptively simple because they are easy to read, yet they are imagery-rich and sometimes message-laden as well. One that speaks to me and many of the avid readers that I teach is from her collection of poems Moon, Have You Met My Mother?

I need to read.
It's a little like breathing
or eating
or drinking
my life's link to thinking.
Without it I am
much less than I am,
less of a person
and more of a yam.
Reading is writing
is learning
is growing
igniting cognition,
that's what keeps one going
trucking along on a civilised track
more upward than downward
and possibly forward,
it feels like it's forward,
most probably forward,
and forward is generally better than back.

As a cat owner I also particularly like this poem from her collection Near the Window Tree.

When a cat is asleep
There is nothing asleep
That is quite so asleep
As a cat.
She has finished with darting,
Careening and leaping
Now even the soft air around her is sleeping.

In the library we have her picture book poems, So, What's it Like to be a Cat? illustrated by Betsy Lewin and A Boy Had a Mother Who Bought him a Hat which is illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Perhaps when some of her anthologies are reissued they will make their way to Australia because at the moment her antholgies are hard to find here. This is a good spot to find her poems on the web.

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