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This diverse collection features some of Nancy Willard’s most critically lauded poetry—including works from her Newbery Medal–winning volume, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn—as well as her short fiction and four unconventional essays on writing.
Hens, children, magic bottles, and the moon are just some of the characters running through the luminous musings gathered here. “How to Stuff a Pepper” becomes a heady discourse on the thoughts and sleeping habits of peppers. “The Doctrine of the Leather-Stocking Jesus” and “The Hucklebone of a Saint” are tales about the power of superstition to shape our lives. Other stories showcase favorite Willard themes about God, religion, and the magic and mysticism in everyday life—and the ancestors, guardians, saints, and spirits who, in Willard’s words, come back “once in a while to keep an eye on us, the living.”
A paean to the power of storytelling, A Nancy Willard Reader is an essential volume for poetry and fiction lovers.