19 Nov CHARLOTTE ZOLOTOW
Although I knew Charlotte for many years, the first book I did with her was the anthology MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHTTIME, TOO, published with Harper in l980.
I adored her — not only as being a brilliant editor but a good friend.
At lunch one afternoon, and we had many, many lunches together, I mentioned how sad that her books of poetry were out of print, especially RIVER WINDING (T. Y. Crowell, l970) which first appeared in l970 under the Abelard-Schuman imprint. RIVER… had etherial two-color paintings by Kazue Mizumura which perfectly reflected Charlotte’s beautiful poetry.ALL THAT SUNLIGHT (Harper, l967) was also gone.
“These poems plus a bunch of others I keep in a box,” she told me. “They’re so unorganized. I could never do anything with them.”
This was back in the l980’s. I was doing a lot of work with Harcourt with the wondrous late-editor Anna Bier. I had an idea to bring back some classic poetry by putting them in new editions. I had just convinced Myra Cohn Livingston to put together a collection of her out-of-print works which Anna published titled A SONG I SANG TO YOU (Harcourt, l980), illustratred by Margo Tomes
“Let me talk to Anna,” I told Charlotte.
I soon got Anna and Charlotte together. Both were excited over the project yet Charlotte, being ultra-busy with her own editorial work at Harper could not begin to take on a collection.
“I’ll do it for you,” I said.
After Charlotte delivered the box to me I wondered what I was thinking.
I worked what seemed forever going through scraps and pages of poetry.
It ended up being EVERYTHING GLISTENS AND EVERYTHING SINGS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Harcourt, l987), also illustrated by Margot Tomes, a volume containing seventy-two poems.
I treasured – will also treasure — Charlotte’s Dedication to the book”:
To Anna Bier
and Lee Bennett Hopkins
with affection and gratitude.
I cannot say more except to quote her:
Now I walk
along the bank
the water’s very blue
and I walking by the waves
We turn out the lights
and the color is gone..
Only with closed eyes
can you see now.
The colors will forever be there.