Friday, January 30, 2009


Last week, the ALA conference was in Denver. On Wednesday, Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz, YA librarians from Connecticut and leaders in ASLC,  were on their way to the airport when their cab was hit by a drunk driver. The cab rolled and both women were thrown out and killed.  I picture them at the conference, seeing old friends, sharing meals, poring over wonderful books, and I feel terribly that their visit to our city ended so badly. I imagine the teenagers at Perrot Library in Greenwich, Connecticut missing their book friends and mentors. I imagine families mourning wives, mothers, and grandmothers. I offer this poem in honor of all involved in this situation…

Do You Have Any Advice for Those of Us Just Starting Out?
Ron Koertge

Not surprisingly, libraries are a good place to write.
And the perfect place in a library is near an aisle
where a child a year or two old is playing as his
mother browses the ranks of the dead.
Often he will pull books from the bottom shelf.
The title, the author's name, the brooding photo
on the flap mean nothing. Red book on black, gray
book on brown, he builds a tower. And the higher 
it gets, the wider he grins.

You who asked for advice, listen: When the tower
falls, be like that child. Laugh so loud everybody
in the world frowns and says, "Shhhh."

Then start again.

Read the whole poem here.

POETRY FRIDAY this week is at Adventures in Daily Living.


jama said...

Such terrible, tragic news. Thanks for your poem.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

What a terrible tragedy. I am so sorry for their families and friends and patrons.

The poem is perfect and brings tears to me all over again. Thank you for the tribute.

Author Amok said...

What a terrible loss for the ALA community. Thanks for the poem & remembrance.

Laura Lynn Benson said...

Offering out stretched hands of compassion and comfort...Your words and the poem you share honor these two incredible book angels...

Mary Lee said...

"Then start again."

I suppose that's what we all have to do. I am so distant from this tragedy, and yet it won't leave me. I can't even imagine the pain of those who are close to it.

I am fighting back unreasonable fears of travel, conferences, and taxis. And then yesterday I heard of a young (30-something) wife whose husband died in his sleep this week. I still want to believe that my life will go on forever, even though the evidence is overwhelmingly stacked against that possibility.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Yes, thank you for your poem tribute. Aching and lovely for this sad sad moment.