Friday, May 27, 2011







More than fifteen years ago, I began work on a collection of rhyming fairy tale poems. I’ve never submitted the collection to a publisher. Still, I have enjoyed writing—the mostly humorous—poems. Some of the poems are written as soliloquies, some as conversations, some as letters, and some as classified ads.

I used to do an extensive unit on traditional literature in my second grade classroom. We had great fun! We read different versions of many different folktales and fairy tales. We compared and contrasted the different versions. My students wrote letters from one fairy tale character to another. (Many of them were hilarious.) My students created fairy tale wanted posters. They wrote fairy tale poems that were wonderful. They inspired me to write my own fairy tale poems. I learned a lot about writing poetry from helping my students write their own poetry.

Here is a fairy tale poem from the collection in which Snow White’s frustrated and envious stepmother speaks to her magic mirror.

THE EVIL QUEEN SPEAKS TO HER MAGIC MIRROR
by Elaine Magliaro

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
You say Snow White is best of all.
She may be lovely, I’ll agree—
But she’s a moron. Can’t you see?
Thrice I fooled her she’s so trusting.
I think her brain needs readjusting.
I’ve never seen her reading books.
She only cares about her looks.
I’m not as pretty as the kid…
But she’s no smarter than a squid.
Why, I’ve earned ten advanced degrees
From seven universities!
I’ll change the question. Now I’ll be
The best in this vicinity:
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who’s the SMARTEST one of all?


********************


At Wild Rose Reader, I have another original fairy tale poem that is written in the form of a FAX from the Seven Dwarfs to Snow White.

Heidi Mordhorst has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.

P.S. We had a baby shower for my daughter Sara last Sunday. You can read about it at my Wild Rose Reader post A Baby Shower & Everywhere Books!
 
 
Here are a few pictures from the baby shower:



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One of my favorite authors, Anthony Powell, once tried to console someone with a passage from literature (I forget what). The person was completely unmoved, and Anthony Powell concluded that only those who already love words (or as he put it "possess literature already") can be comforted by them (or it).


I'm not so sure about that.

Of course I am a reader, but I think almost anyone would find this moving -- and comforting. I do, anyhow. .

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.


I am not there; I do not sleep.


I am a thousand winds that blow.


I am the diamond glints on snow.


I am the sunlight on ripened grain.


I am the gentle autumn’s rain.


When you awaken in the morning’s hush


I am the swift uplifting rush


Of quiet birds in circled flight.


I am the soft stars that shine at night.


Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.


I am not there. I did not die.


And yes, someone I love very much did die recently. My mother died on May 1. And now whenever I see one of these things I'll think of her

Tuesday, May 24, 2011






I posted this on my other blog as well. I don't like repeating myself but for this I wanted to get the word out (a correction of sorts). I hope this comes across right!

I spoke on a panel discussion yesterday at the BEA. I had a good time. There was one thing that I said that definitely got a reaction I think. I said that I could write a picture book in about 5 min and could never do that with a nonfiction book because of the research. Then I heard a lot of shocked people in the audience. Then I added to that "I mean a rough draft." As usual, I never explain myself well. There's way more to it than that. Here's the thing: to do a picture book and do it WELL you need YEARS AND YEARS of PRACTICE. I think once you get to a certain level you can, in a way, write a rough draft on the subway if you wish. Now I'm just talking the rough, rough draft. I'm talking story arch, the basic premise, and so on--what comes out of your head initially. Some of the best stories may happen that way! But with nonfiction this isn't so. You can't do that because you have to go read a few nonfiction books on the subject first to get a feel for your subject. It's not so spontaneous. I wish it were.

I hope I've clarified my thoughts a bit. I wasn't saying anything to be arrogant or saying anything to bash one genre over another. They're just very different!






After 12 hours of travel that began at 4 am and involved a small mountain of luggage, two large, weary cats, and one large, cheerful baby we have at last landed back in Massachusetts! Spending the year in San Francisco was incredible experience I will never forget, but it feels really good to be home.

I was pretty nervous about the trip since I've never flown with a baby and we had so much stuff with us (toys! diapers! three cameras! 5 pounds of cat food!), but it all went off without a hitch. Tilda didn't cry even once. Her main complaint in life is being put down, so she was pretty psyched to be held for 6 hours straight. She flirted with everyone around us and napped happily to the white noise of the plane. Here she is playing airplane on the airplane:


And just hanging out:


While we were gone we subletted our apartment and left all our furniture and household items, including most of my studio. Coming back to our things after being away from them so long has been strange. I am not attached to anything and kind of want to throw it all away and start new. Maybe it has something to do with life being so different now that I'm a mother, that I need my space to reflect that change. But its funny, we writers and artists always say we need our "stuff" around us to be productive, or at least thats how I usually feel. After not having my stuff for so long it all seems totally unnecessary. Like on Clean House when a family swears up and down they can't function with out some raggedy old dishtowel that has sentimental value. Did I really need all those stacks of magazines and old paint brushes? Nope! Right now I feel like I need to get rid of it all. I'm sure once I'm absorbed in working on a new project I won't care either way, but til then I will be busy wiping the slate clean for the next phase: being a parent and getting back to work.

Monday, May 23, 2011





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