Poetry Friday: By Water’s Edge

Hello, Poetry Friday. This week’s links are at Sylvia Vardell’s blog, Poetry for Children. Sylvia’s also putting out a call for celebration-themed poems for the next installment of the Poetry Friday Anthology, and shares an example with a fun poem called “Hooray for Dogs” by Janet Wong.

Now I’d like to share a wonderful picture book by author Kay Barone.

“The Green Dory” by Winslow Homer, 1880, Public Domain

My local library is connected with a small art museum, home to many works of American art. Because of this, the library’s collection includes more art-related books than most public libraries. That’s why I was lucky to find a copy of “By Water’s Edge” by Kay Barone on one of the picture book shelves.

This quintessential summer picture book, published by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, pairs thirteen of Winslow Homer’s artworks with Barone’s gentle rhyming text. It’s a perfect fit.

“Children Playing Under a Gloucester Wharf,” Winslow Homer, 1880, Public Domain

“Who will have fun with a tied up boat?

“Who will tilt it gently, who will watch it float?”

Author/poet/teacher Kay Barone died in 2010, and “By Water’s Edge” was her only picture book. It might be difficult to find a copy, but it would make a timeless addition to any children’s book collection.

Text Excerpt from: “By Water’s Edge” by Kay Barone, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 1996

25 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: By Water’s Edge”

  1. “Who will tilt it gently, who will watch it float”
    Artistry in words & watercolor. Thank you for sharing Janet Wong’s lines.

    Winslow Homer is an artist I turn too for moments of joy, with a close feeling to scenes, because he also found inspiration along atmospheric waterways in Florida where I have traveled. I see his pieces in North FL museums & am taken by their transcendence. I didn’t know about Janet Wong’s children’s poems paired with Winslow art for the Boston MFA (which has two special connections for me) so triply joyful about this.

    Thank you Monica I’m lucky to find cartwheels & you this post through Poetry Friday.

    1. Hi bookseedstudio, thank you for visiting. I’m sorry my post was confusing – the author of “By Water’s Edge” is Kay Barone, not Janet Wong. I’ll update the post so that is more clear.

      1. Monica, I’m the fuzz-brain. Why didn’t i see what you state clearly above the first lovely watercolor. And, it’s a lovely post with Kay Barone’s lines. She is a new poet to me so I appreciate learning a name to look up. Thank you for your lovely response, you are kind.

  2. Monica – this does look and sound like a wonderful book and brings back fond memories of my years in Cambridge, visiting the MFA and viewing Winslow Homer’s works. Sigh.

    1. Michelle, I thought maybe the Boston Museum of Fine Arts would still be selling it, but it doesn’t appear in their online shop. I want to build a library for all the out-of-print poetry books. Want to join me? ;)

  3. Thanks for bringing attention to our Poetry Friday post, Monica–and for your own post about this exquisite book!

      1. Thank you! What’s most exciting to me is the multiformat concept of simultaneous paperback, digital, and other presentations that will combine together to form one whole book–to promote multiple reading styles and different kinds of sharing. (but I’m getting too far ahead–we’re announcing the parameters in Sept–please stay tuned!)

    1. Tabatha, out of all the libraries in our regional system, my library was the only one that owned a copy. So I don’t think it was a book that was widely received on the first printing.

  4. Homer’s works are so tranquil — I could study them for hours. Thanks for sharing this treasure. I’ll be on the look-out!

    1. Hi, Keri. Here’s something interesting: all of the Homer artwork in this book feature children. A number of the paintings are dated 1873, the summer that Homer spent in Gloucester, Massachusetts, painting many local children ‘at water’s edge.’

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