Last week, Michelle welcomed Laura Shovan to her blog with a workshop idea around Fractured Fairy Tales.
I have ordered the two books she suggested, Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen and Mirror, Mirror by Marilyn Singer.
In the meantime, I was reminded of a book of poetry I have by Ava Leavell Haymon, former poet laureate of Louisiana, Why the House is Made of Gingerbread. This book is really for adult readers, but a few years ago Lemony Snicket published a collection of poems for adults that children would like, available here on the Poetry Foundation. He selected Ava’s The Witch has Told You a Story for this collection.
You are food.
You are here for me
to eat. Fatten up,
and I will like you better.
Your brother will be first,
you must wait your turn.
Feed him yourself, you will
learn to do it. You will take him
eggs with yellow sauce, muffins
torn apart and leaking butter, fried meats
late in the morning, and always sweets
in a sticky parade from the kitchen.
His vigilance, an ice pick of hunger
pricking his insides, will melt
in the unctuous cream fillings.
He will forget. He will thank you
for it. His little finger stuck every day
through cracks in the bars
will grow sleek and round,
his hollow face swell
like the moon. He will stop dreaming
about fear in the woods without food.
He will lean toward the maw
of the oven as it opens
every afternoon, sighing
better and better smells.
—Ava Leavell Haymon
My lesson plan around fractured fairy tale poems will include this poem about Hansel and Gretel.
Jane Yolen challenges us this month to write a septercet, a form she invented. Each line of the 3 lined stanza has 7 syllables. I will ask my students to write a septercet about a favorite fairy tale, fractured or not. So I’m giving it a try myself.
When she wanders in the woods,
soft white reflecting diamonds,
her fair skin glows like snowflakes.
Apple laced in evil spells
tastes of beauty golden red
slips her slowly into sleep.
Finally she rests from all
her troubles. Let her be free.
Love will find a peaceful soul.