Recently I was perusing the shelves of a used bookstore, and I ran across a book that made me stop in disbelief: LAURA INGALLS WILDER’S FAIRY POEMS!
Could it be true? Did one of my favorite authors write poems about fairies?
I checked the publisher to make sure it was a legitimate book.
Okay. It must be so.
I bought the book.
It was published in 1998. The poems were compiled by Stephen W. Hines, an expert on Wilder and her newspaper columns. Hines also wrote an introduction for the book explaining how the fairy poems came to be.
In 1915, Wilder was visiting her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, in San Francisco. Lane was a writer, too, and wrote some poetry for the San Francisco Bulletin. But, she was so busy at the time that Wilder wrote some for her. Wilder usually wrote about farming and chickens for a rural newspaper, but she also enjoyed writing poetry.
Fairies may seem like a huge departure from Wilder’s writings about chickens, farming, and homesteading that we are most familiar with, but Wilder’s writings also showed her love of nature. And her fairy poems are really charming nature poems. Plus, Laura had a childlike imagination and, of course, later wrote for children.
The book’s illustrations by Richard Hull are also fun.
After reading the book, I was surprised to find another Wilder-fairy connection. A post on The Cottonwood Tree reprinted a 1922 newspaper column in which Wilder retells a fairy story.
Did you know Wilder wrote fairy poems? What unexpected literary treasures have you found at bookstores? Used bookstores? Yard sales? Libraries?