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Present Writers: Susan Cooper

This is the latest in a recurring series! For more about the series, please read the original post on Marta Randall, or subsequent posts on Dorothy Heydt, Barbara Hambly, Jane Yolen, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sherwood Smith, Nisi Shawl, Pamela Dean, Gwyneth Jones , Caroline Stevermer, Patricia C. Wrede, Lois McMaster Bujold, Nancy Kress, Diane Duane, Candas Jane Dorsey, Greer Gilman, Robin McKinley, Laurie Marks, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Rosemary Kirstein, and Karen Joy Fowler.

Some poetry you memorize on purpose, because you want to keep it with you always. Some poetry you memorize accidentally, because you read it enough times, over and over again, that your brain automatically knows that the verse says wood bronze iron fire water stone and not the order in which those elements appear in the book. That’s where I am with the prophecy poems in the Dark Is Rising series: I read them so many times that there are entire passages, not just the poems, that will be with me always. If that series was all Susan Cooper had ever written, it would be worth appreciating her for just that.

But, of course, it’s not. There’s the Boggart trilogy, a very different take on the same region’s myths. There’s the dreamlike Seaward; there are historical and time travel books. Cooper has also written picture books and screenplays. Her breadth is startling–many people who adored Greenwitch or Over Sea, Under Stone have no idea what a variety of other things Cooper has done. She keeps turning her hand to new things, and we’re so lucky that she does.

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