Thursday, April 4, 2013

Follow Follow: a book of reverso poems by Marilyn Singer

Companion to Mirror Mirror. 32 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Group (USA) Inc., February, 2013. 9780803737693. (Purchased.)

I fell so completely in love with Mirror Mirror when it released, (Dial, 2010) that I ordered Follow Follow as soon as I learned of it. In Mirror Mirror, poet Marilyn Singer debuts her collection of reversos, a form that she created in which the poems are read two ways: down and then up (well, actually down again because it's retyped). The same words, with minor punctuation changes change the meaning of the poem. So cool.

Another reason for loving this book is that they are all centered around fairy and folk tales. You know, the ones that kids should be growing up listening to, but somehow grow up thinking that Disney "wrote" The Little Mermaid. Sigh. I will resist a rant here.

In Mirror Mirror, the poems were about more mainstream tales. In Follow Follow, the poet spreads out a bit to include Aladdin, the Golden Goose The Nightingale and the Twelve Dancing Princesses along with more familiar ones like Tortoise and Hare, Emperor's New Clothes and Little Mermaid.

Disney's butchering bowdlerization of Andersen's tale is particularly irksome to me because I had a collection that was well thumbed by me growing up. The mermaid's choice(s) always baffled me. I don't think I ever would've given up my voice to walk on legs that would feel like knives slicing me for any boy; but if I did and had a chance to get it all back by killing them in their sleep...? 

I particularly liked The Little Mermaid's Choice.

For love,
give up your voice.
think twice.
On the shore,
be in his shadow.
keep your home
in the unruly sea.
Be docile.
You can't 
catch him
"You'll never catch me!"

reversed, it reads

You'll never catch me
playing'"Catch him."
You can't
be docile
in the unruly sea.
Keep your home.
be his shadow
on the shore.
Think twice!
give up your voice
for love.

I think that students will be as tickled over this collection as they were over the first.

No comments:

Post a Comment