The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassisby Caroline Kennedy
Timed to the publication of the author+s new illustrated children+s book, A Family of Poems, the national bestseller is now available in a specially priced gift editionJacqueline Kennedy Onassis loved literature, especially poetry. -Once you can express yourself,+ she wrote, +you can tell the world what you want from it+All the changes in the world, for good or evil,… See more details below
Timed to the publication of the author+s new illustrated children+s book, A Family of Poems, the national bestseller is now available in a specially priced gift editionJacqueline Kennedy Onassis loved literature, especially poetry. -Once you can express yourself,+ she wrote, +you can tell the world what you want from it+All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words.+ Now, Caroline Kennedy shares her mother+s favorite poems and the worlds behind her strong belief in the power of literature. A wonderful volume for reading aloud or by yourself, a meaningful gift or keepsake, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis offers an intimate view of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis+ world, and a poignant glimpse into her heart.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
The idea of America -- freedom, equality, possibility -- has been celebrated in poetry, song, political rhetoric, and judicial opinion. The poems that follow serenade America and explore the individual's role in shaping our national destiny. They describe heroes like Paul Revere, the American Everyman about whom Walt Whitman sings, and those who have been shut out of the American dream but whose struggles are given voice by Langston Hughes. These poems remind us that no matter who we are, we each have an opportunity to help create the kind of society we want to live in. For America's story is still unfolding -- in the words of Robert Frost, it is our country, "such as she was, such as she will become."
"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow always reminds me of my grandmother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. When I was a child, she was the most patriotic person I knew. At family gatherings, she used to recite this poem from memory and encouraged (with varying degrees of success) her grandchildren to do the same. She was baptized around the corner from the Old North Church and grew up in Concord, Massachusetts. Since she had been born before 1900, to me it was perfectly possible that she might have even caught a glimpse of Paul Revere.
Grandma's recitation of the poem combined patriotism, her Irish antipathy toward the English, her love of language, and her conviction that one man's courage could change the course of history. She instilled in us the belief that perhaps, if the chance came again, we would be the one to inspire others, just like Paul Revere. (Of course, as my daughter recently reminded me, it was really the poet who inspired us since there were two other men who rode that night, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, whose names are largely forgotten.)
To me, the most meaningful poem in this section is Robert Frost's "The Gift Outright," which the poet recited at my father's inauguration. By asking Frost to read that day, my father expressed his belief in the power of language and connected the inaugural ceremony to an enduring tradition of using poetry, in a sense, to sanctify an occasion.
A snowstorm had blanketed the Capitol the night before, but the morning was glistening bright. When Frost stood to read the poem he had written for the occasion, the glare was so strong he couldn't see the words on the page. He recited "The Gift Outright" from memory. The contrast between his age and my father's youth, the poet's frailty and the power of his words gave the moment a special significance.
Three years later, at the dedication of a library named for Robert Frost, President Kennedy said, "The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the man who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power, or power uses us…. When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment."
Throughout her life, my mother took great pride in the role of poetry and the arts in my father's administration. She celebrated American arts and artists in the White House, believing, as my father did, that America's artistic achievements were equal to her political and military power, and that American civilization had come of age.
I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day -- at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
America, the Beautiful
by Katherine Lee Bates
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
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