Friday, March 21, 2008

Poets' Grimm becomes a play

The contract came in the mail. Our fairy tale poetry anthology has an agent.

Got a great letter of support from a teacher:

To Whom It May Concern:

As a high school theater teacher and director, I am always searching for new and challenging material to work on with my kids. This past fall I hit upon the idea of adapting material from The Brothers Grimm. While discussing the project with an English teacher colleague (also a fine poet in his own right), he suggested The Poets’ Grimm. We eventually incorporated about twenty or so poems from the book into what became an original and successful stage production.

What was most striking to me was the reaction my students had to the poetry. We spent several days simply reading and discussing poems from the collection. Students listened attentively as they took turns reading/performing selections. Lively discussion would often follow about the merits of a particular piece. Kids would come by my office to browse through the collection. Almost every actor in the show wound up performing a poem of their choice. One wrote a poem of his own and shared it with us as part of our rehearsal process. There was an unforced enthusiasm for the poems which was palpable. Nor am I talking about the simplest and most accessible poems. My students’ investigation was thoughtful and penetrating. Though it was not my specific intention, the collection was a wonderful teaching tool.

Within a short time another English teacher colleague found several pieces to employ in a senior seminar of hers. Just recently a student came into my office and exclaimed, “Oh, that’s the book!” She’d read selections in English, but hadn’t seen the collection in its entirety. Therein lies the rub. Copies of the collection are currently few and far between. Only through the great good fortune of having a knowledgeable poet as a colleague did we learn of the existence of the collection, and then only through what seemed like some black market operation did we acquire two copies. Those precious copies have been circulated and shared like some underground forbidden fruit.

Given the enthusiasm my students showed for the collection, how nice it would be if it were currently in print. When students ask, as they have, where they might get a copy of their own, how nice it would be to tell them it is easily available at a reasonable price, instead of $175.00 at I’m sure there are many teachers who would be enthusiastic about this collection, if they only knew about it, and scores more students who would welcome it into their lives if they only had the opportunity.

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