Monday, April 12, 2010

Norman Rosten

April is Poetry Month!

I feel so fortunate to have met and worked with so many talented people along my life's path. Brooklyn Poet Laureate Norman Rosten was one of these wonderful people.

I was just breaking into children's books in 1987 and Cousin Arthur's was the local children's bookstore in Brooklyn Heights. It was also a place for grown up happenings and community gatherings. The owners, Bob and Barbara Tramonte, were poets. They also owned a small poetry press. Readings at Cousin Arthur's listed some of the top poets in NYC. In 1987, the idea for the Children's Book Illustrators Group (CBIG- New York City) was born at this bookstore. I became it's first President.

Local author, playwright and poet, Norman Rosten, was a frequent visitor to Cousin Arthur's. I had read his memoir about his friend, the actress Marilyn Monroe.

Norman and I became friends during the time I designed a book of his poems, 'Songs for Patricia'. The Tramonte’s poetry press reissued it in 1988. When my second children’s book, MY FATHER'S LUNCHEONETTE, was released in 1991, Norman asked if I would read some of his children’s poems for possible publication. Being new in children's books that offer was incredibly generous and encouraging.

A CITY IS had many detours on it's journey to publication. It was rejected a few times before Norman passed away in 1995. It finally sold to Henry Holt, one of his original publishers. His poem are simple and timeless. Memories of Norman alway stay with me.

Here is an early sketch I did for the "Pocket Park" poem that never made into the book. You can download and color it.

Purchase an autographed copy of the book A CITY IS.

Art from A CITY IS Copyright Melanie Hope Greenberg 2004

1 comment:

Janis said...

Always interesting to learn the genesis of any work, this was both inspiring and informative. I sure wish that there were book stores like that today in every neighborhood; a place for true heart to find rescue and release. Congratulations on all yiur accomplishments.