Step Lightly: Poems for the Journey Review

step_lightlyStep Lightly: Poems for the Journey compiled by Nancy Willard

Harcourt Brace, 1998. 978-0152020521

Synopsis: In this collection of poems, Nancy Willard presents to the reader a series of favorite poems from everything from newspapers to magazines to other books of poetry designed to show and share the love for and the power of rhythm and language.

Why I picked it up: I like traveling and I love a good book to read for the plane or the bus or however I’m getting from here to there.

Why I finished it: Though the poems in the book for the large part stand alone in and of themselves, together they take the readers through the journey of a day and a life. While it’s not the kind of book that will take the reader all day to get through, it shares with the reader a snapshot of different places, different people, and the different stages and directions life can take. Willard writes in the introduction that all of the poets in this book, both known and relatively unknown, are making light of it all – it all being this life we are living and sharing with the people closest to us. Poetry and poems carry different meanings for each person that reads it, and while I hope that everyone can find their own meaning in these works, this is what I have taken away from this book: it is inspiring and lovely. Its writers take the reader into their laps and into their rooms and in a few well chosen words tell the reader a story that will teach us lessons that we cannot take away from reading a work of prose. So many of these poems struck a chord with me, and I will collect them together with others I have saved over the years as a record of my own journey. And I encourage whoever reads this to save and be able to share their own favorites, whether they be poems, books, movies, whatever speaks to or inspires them.

Other related materials: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen; Poetry for Young People: William Blake edited by John Maynard, illustrated by Alessandra Cimatoribus; Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare edited by David Scott Kastan and Maria Kastan, illustrated by Glenn Harrington; Poetry for Young People: Robert Browning edited by Eileen Gillooly, illustrated by Joel Spector; Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost edited by Gary D. Schmidt, illustrated by Henri Sorensen; Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, illustrated by Chi Chung; Poetry for Young People: Robert Loius Stevenson edited by Frances Schoonmaker, illustrated by Lucy Corvino; Poetry for Young People: William Butler Yeats edited by Jonathan Allison, illustrated by Glenn Harrington; Poetry for Young People: William Carlos William edited by Christopher MacGowan, illustrated by Robert Crockett; Poetry for Young People: American Poetry edited by John Hollander, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport; Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry edited by Arnold Rampersand and Marcellus Blount, illustrated by Karen Barbour


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