Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, often called the “Hans Christian Andersen of America,” has just celebrated the publication of her 400th book. The acclaimed Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night feature amongst the 400, as well as seven books of adult poetry. She was the first woman to give the St Andrews University’s Andrew Lang lecture since the series began in 1927. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates.


Jane Yolen

Photo: (c) Jason Stemple


Children’s Poetry Trail »

Please note the poetry trail is no longer on view at the Botanic Gardens but the online version is still available to view at Childrens Poetry Trail »


A poetry trail from one of America’s best loved children’s writers. (No charge for the Poetry Trail outdoors or to view online, but the Botanic Gardens do have entrance charges for adults except on Friday 5 March: £6/£5/free)

Fri 5 March - Tue 18 May | 10:00 - 16:00 | FREE | StAnza Online


Resolved: Combustion

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire."
— Arnold H. Glasow

First find the right tinder,
a handful of dry grass,
the idea of the poem, piecemeal,
shaggy, rough, flaking in the hand.
A bit of flint next, the hard idea,
needing something striking at the core.
Find a stick, not for poking about with,
that will come later in the revision,
but a place to cradle the nascent flame.
Then blow. Oh—wait,
your hot air is not regulated enough.
You might put the small spark out
with too quick, too percussive a blow.
Thrust the ember into the pith,
into the heart of the poem.
Feel the heat of it, browning the edges,
curling, curing, curating your lines.
Now you are ready, the fire is set.
Breath deep, steady, passionately slow.
Blow yourself apart.


Jane Yolen

From Sister Fox's Field Guide to Writing (Papaveria Press, 2014)