Knee-Deep in Blazing Snow: Growing up in Vermont

Overview


The poems in this collection were chosen for their appeal to young people, and sorted into the four seasons, so readers can get a taste of growing up in New England year-round. James Hayford's poems include a Vermont way of talking--no wasted words. His language is whittled into poems satisfying to read aloud and surprising in their power to reveal truth. The collection is steeped in New England but speaks to readers everywhere. Michael McCurdy's stunning engravings and woodcuts add to the poems, amplifying the ...
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Overview


The poems in this collection were chosen for their appeal to young people, and sorted into the four seasons, so readers can get a taste of growing up in New England year-round. James Hayford's poems include a Vermont way of talking--no wasted words. His language is whittled into poems satisfying to read aloud and surprising in their power to reveal truth. The collection is steeped in New England but speaks to readers everywhere. Michael McCurdy's stunning engravings and woodcuts add to the poems, amplifying the drama of New England seasons and the beauty of rural life.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
James Hayford (1913-1993) lived most of his days in rural Vermont and wrote poems about life in New England. In this collaboration by fellow New Englanders, the Kennedys and artist McCurdy present some of Hayford's poems selected for young people, arranged by seasons and accompanied by woodcuts and scratchboard illustrations that add piquant comment to the poet's quiet vision. Encouraged in his youth by Robert Frost, Hayford never stopped recording his deep but succinctly expressed feelings and sensual impressions of a way of life that may be a revelation to city children of today. Starting with "Summer," each section has a double-page illustration as an introduction, progressing from haying and corn-hoeing, through apple-picking, wood-hauling, and ice-skating, only to bring readers up short in "Spring" by picturing a bonneted woman harnessed to a plow while her daughter walks behind, sowing seed. Not all images are so harsh: Hayford revels in the song of birds in "Two Birds (With One Stone)," a warm goat barn in "Night Milking Time," and the soft, curled body of "The Banished Cat." "Barn Light" is only one example of his evocative emotional responses to remembered rural scenes; try "Trains," "Spring Tide," and "First Snow." The poems are short--read them aloud as recommended, and be prepared to experience the essence of a Vermont year shaped by a master who devoted a lifetime to writing with hand carved precision and distilled sensual perception. Also provided for young readers is the Kennedy's lucid introduction to "Hayford's World."
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Hayford, a gifted poet, was mentored and lauded by Robert Frost, and the Kennedys have selected some of his spare yet evocative verses to share with a new audience. Looking back upon his childhood in early-20th-century rural Vermont, Hayford imbued ordinary activities, events, and observations with acquired and perceptive wisdom. In "Time to Plant Trees," he recommends planting them, "-when you're young/So you will have them to walk among-/So, aging, you can walk in shade/That you and time together made." Adults who share these poems can provide some useful context to support a few images that may otherwise be unfamiliar to contemporary children. Some of the selections have an easy rhyme; others are free verse. McCurdy's black-and-white woodcuts, at times quite dark, reflect the quiet nostalgia expressed in these pages.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590783382
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


James Hayford (1913-1993) lived in Vermont most of his life. He studied with the famous poet Robert Frost at Amherst College, and after promising Frost to devote himself to writing poetry, Hayford had many different jobs, but he always kept wr
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    A TREASURE OF NEW ENGLAND POEMS

    A student of one of America's most beloved poets, Robert Frost, the young James Hayford was a native of Vermont. It was at Amherst College that he studied with Frost who became more than a teacher to him. Frost believed in Hayford and offered him $1,000 if he would stay in American and spend his time writing poetry. In 1935 that amount of money was enough for Hayford to live on for a whole year, and he accepted. We're grateful that he did for he has left the world a treasure of poems about New England, capturing its beauty and its hardships. 'Knee-Deep In Blazing Snow,' a collection especially edited for young readers, covers the four seasons of the year beginning with Summer and 'Hay-Jumpers': 'When hay was put in loose, We jumpers had our use....' A reminder of the fun youngsters had jumping in the hay. Autumn is heralded with 'Night Milking Time' and Winter with 'First Snow': 'Blanketing fields that lately were bare brown, Let this soft midnight snow brings blessings down On all the people in the little town.' Special pleasure is found in reading Hayford's poems aloud and, of course, the talented Michael McCurdy's woodcuts are the perfect accompaniment to this collection subtitled 'Growing Up In Vermont.' - Gail Cooke

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