Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More Phyllis McGinley fans surface

Denny Hartford at the Book Den seems to have started something...

He wrote about poet and author Phyllis McGinley. I picked it up with Remembering Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978). This is how I found out that two fairly regular commenters here on my blog are McGinley fans (see the comments for that post).

Carmon at Buried Treasure ran across the same Book Den post, didn't know about McGinley, thought she sounded interesting, so ran with it in the post Domestic and Accomplished. Headmistress at The Common Room, who is a McGinley fan, picked up on Carmon's post and came up with one of her own, Poetry for Domestic Divas, Redux, in which she rather avidly recommends Phyllis McGinley's works.

I missed The Common Room's post last year on McGinley, which, among other things, mentions a children's book McGinley wrote called The Plain Princess, which sounds rather good, but which I didn't know about. (This is not to be confused with the book The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye.) Sadly, The Plain Princess seems to be currently out of print, and fairly scarce. Rats. It sounds like a book I'd like to read, if I can find a copy at the library or otherwise within my budget.

Anyway, I had thought that perhaps Phyllis McGinley was being lost to the mists of time, and I'm glad to see she isn't.

6 comments:

Barb, sfo said...

I did find a copy of that children's book and a few others at my county library--and promptly reserved them, as well as "Saint Watching."

In this search I discovered that "A Year Without A Santa Claus" (the movie, and a big favorite of my husband) was based on a book of hers!!

johng said...

Here is the children's book we have. j811.52M

A Wreath of
CHRISTMAS LEGENDS
by PHYLLIS McGinley

Illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
New York: Macmillan Co., 1967 62 pp.(3d printing, 1969)

Dedicated to Charles Hayden Blake

15 Christmas poems, all published first by magazines

5 appeared in Family Circle, Dec/1964

10 appeared in Ladies Home Journal, Dec/1966

Weisgard is a well regarded illustrator of the period. The drawings
appear to be pen and ink and are large. They may sprawl over the several pages
in the longer poems. The book itself is approx 10w x 6in high and is a bit
like a scrapbook in design.
This is a rebound library version, in very good shape--one flaw-- which may last for another 4 decades with care.

(1st post on this subject)

johng said...

One poem from the collection:
--------

The Night first published December, 1966

On the night that Christ was born
The rivers, one hears, ran fine
And sweetly between their banks,
Filled not with water but wine.

And any man who drank
Of that beneficent tide
(Though he had stooped in anger
To drink), grew pacified,
Loving even his foeman
As dearly as his bride;
Wholly at peace with himself,
The world and everything.

While the trees in the forest blossomed
As if the winter were spring.
---------------------

The poem is typeset so that each line is indented variably, but all of the lines in the book are typespaced to end identically. Blogger will not let me reproduce that format.


One or two other poems are set similarly. Most poems, however, use variable spacing at opening AND in close.
(2d post on the subject)

johng said...

My personal strength is children's fiction, rather than poetry. However, in copying this for the PC, I found that the special typeset influenced my reading of the poem. I'm sorry I can't share the actual reading.
I could surmise that the special line formats are meant to help place the line meaning within the poem as a whole.

Although the book has a 'public library feel,' it is meant to be used for Christmas at home.

Perhaps the book was created, one might guess, because Mrs. McGinley desired a more permanent way for her Christmas creations to be shared with children (and their parents).

I am almost certain some of her poetry appears in at least one children's Christmas anthologies of the period. Her poems (such as The Ballad of the Rosemary; The Legend of the Cat; The Ballad of the Robin) are set amidst the wonder of our priceless treasure of Christmas tradition and worship.

(Last post on the subject)

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

The Plain Princess was briefly reprinted, I think, and not too long ago, so copies are not quite so pricey as they were when I bought mine. It was also included in an anthology of children's stories, The Family Treasury of Childrens' Stories (volume 2), and I believe a Reader's Digest anthology of children's stories, of all things. A particularly good anthology that was, but I don't recall the name offhand.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

The Plain Princess was briefly reprinted, I think, and not too long ago, so copies are not quite so pricey as they were when I bought mine. It was also included in an anthology of children's stories, The Family Treasury of Childrens' Stories (volume 2), and I believe a Reader's Digest anthology of children's stories, of all things. A particularly good anthology that was, but I don't recall the name offhand.