Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blast from the Poetry Past: 1951

Iona and Peter Opie, a husband-and-wife team of folklorists, applied modern techniques to the analysis of children’s literature culminating in the publication of The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959).

Contemporary Connections
Look for a reissued version of their fun folk rhyme compilation, I Saw Esau, illustrated by Maurice Sendak:

Opie, Iona and Peter Opie. Eds. 1992/2012. I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild's Pocket Book. Candlewick.

And if you have access to the digital (microfiche) Opie Collection housed at a handful of places (like my very own university, Texas Woman’s University), spend an hour browsing through its amazing holdings. (The originals are at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.) Look for it via Proquest here and see some "finding aids" here.

Joseph Thomas and Poetry’s Playground
Scholar Joseph Thomas follows in the Opie’s footsteps in his study of poetry and verse for young people. In his seminal work, Poetry's Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children's Poetry (Wayne State University Press, 2007, p. 109), Joseph Thomas identifies eight key anthologies he suggests are children’s poetry essentials. He notes he chose anthologies with editors from “differing ideological standpoints” and from a variety of “historical moments,” hoping to be “descriptive, not prescriptive” and lay the groundwork for “future inquiry.” They are listed here in chronological order.

Untermeyer, Louis, comp. 1959. The Golden Treasury of Poetry. New York: Golden Press.

Dunning, Stephen, Luders, Edward, and Smith, Hugh, comp. 1966. Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle. New York: Scholastic.

Kennedy, X.J. and Kennedy, Dorothy, comp. 1982. Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry. Boston: Little, Brown.

Prelutsky, Jack, comp. 1983. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. New York: Random House.

Koch, Kenneth, and Farrell, Kate, comp. 1985. Talking to the Sun: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People. New York: Henry Holt.

Sword, Elizabeth Hauge and McCarthy, Victoria, comp. 1995. A Child's Anthology of Poetry. New York: Franklin Watts.

Kennedy, X.J. and Kennedy, Dorothy, comp. 1999 (revised edition). Knock at a Star:  A Child's Introduction to Poetry. Boston: Little, Brown.

Hall, Donald, comp. 1999. The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children's Poems. New York: Oxford University Press.

Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.

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