Poetry Friday: Genevieve Cote’s Lady of Shalott

In the mood for something pretty enchanting? How ’bout this?


Tennyson meets Genevieve Cote and what we get is a gorgeous and fresh take on one of the world’s most oft memorized ballads. Cote’s art is luminous and light, just right for Tennyson’s flowing lyricism. This is a book you want to put into the hands of any teenage girl who is a real reader (not to mention every other reader you know).

Before we get to a little bit of “willows whitening” and “aspens quivering,” you might want to find out more about Genevieve Cote. Her website offers a short biography and a selection from her portfolio. Also, Genevieve is one of the many illustrators who created a snowflake for Robert’s Snow this year. I am sure you will agree that her snowflake, “Printemps”, is bound to get some serious bidding happening:


Utter sweetness. Genevieve’s art has a softness to it that renders all of her images completely magical. For an interview with Genevieve about her snowflake (and herself), head on over to a wrung sponge. To bid on Genvieve’s snowflake, join in for Auction 3 starting December 3rd.

Want some poetry now?

The Lady of Shalott

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shallot.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shallot…

Goosebumps? Keep reading at poets.org (that is if you don’t happen have it memorized like some super-geeks among us- ahem…).

2 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Genevieve Cote’s Lady of Shalott

  1. Kelly Fineman

    All hail the super-geeks! I only have the first few lines memorized, but I do love the poem (and have used it in talking about poetry as an illustration of assonance and alliteration). Something in the poem always reminds me of the scene from Singin’ in the Rain where the vocal coaches urge the silent film stars to use “round tones” when speaking.

    I’ll have to have a look for the book – the illos she has posted on her site are interesting, but I’m not sure how they tie to the text.

  2. shelfelf Post author

    When you see the book it’ll be obvious that she’s put a modern-ish spin on the poem. Whenever I hear or read this poem I think of Anne Shirley – it was made for drama queens!

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