Nancy willard

Comments & Themes


  • Much as I like my Eliot and Pound, I feel poetry like Nancy Willard's is a necessity. Do you think her poetry belongs in the canon emerging from this webpage so far? Does it strike you as unambitious in comparison? Justify your answer carefully.
  • You have seen the use of child perspective as a handy resource in adult poetry in Elizabeth Bishop. How useful do you think it is in general terms? And in Willard?
  • The credo of the American Vernacular Idiom (in capital letters) sounds fine in such poets as William Carlos Williams. Do you think it risks being trivialized in poetry such as Willard's? Is it because you learned Williams at college and Willard here?
  • Phenomenological poetry appeals to many different kinds of readers. Why do you think this is so? How successful is Willard at this?
  • Do you think that a reputation as a children's writer may be detrimental to a serious poet?
  • A naïve approach to everyday objects and phenomena is hard to sustain successfully. What happens if a poet can hold it brilliantly and refreshingly throughout a lifelong career?
  • Is sentimentality a serious risk in this kind of poetry?
  • I find "Love in America" a little intimate masterpiece. There should be more poetry like that, especially in the 20th century. Which other poets do you know capable of producing poetry of this kind?