Robyn Schon and Sarabeth’s (Continued) Influence

Robyn Schon and her book, Portrait of the Wind.

As I’ve been saying about once a week since my young friend Sarabeth Hammond died in an automobile accident in December, “She hasn’t gone anywhere.”

Another example of her immediate influence roared into my book case today when my dear friend Robyn Schon summoned me to the Berglund Center, which she manages, because, “I have something for you.”

“Something” turned out to be Robyn’s first book, a lovely little volume titled Portrait of the Wind, which features her poetry, written over the years, and her artwork, similarly accumulated. Robyn said that a year ago, I gave her one of the pen and inkwell pins I gave those teaching at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, telling her that she was now officially a writer. She took that to heart.

Then, she met Sarabeth at a Civic Center event Sarabeth’s mother, Caroline Hammond, was putting on and  Robyn was quite taken with  the teenager. She and Sarabeth talked–both incessantly, I’d imagine, since neither knows what a period is–and finally, Robyn asked how old Sarabeth was at the time. Sixteen, said Sarabeth.

“It was amazing how much she had accomplished in those 16 years,” said Robyn. She thought of the boxes of her collected poetry, prose and artwork sitting ignored in her home and decided it was time to publish. The result is this lovely little book, which I will treasure.

You can get your copy ($19.99 hardback; $3.99 Kindle) at or

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