Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Story Hour by Sara Henderson Hay


Story Hour by Sara Henderson Hay is one fairy tale poetry collection still in print! And it's a wonderful one.

From the publisher:

Originally published by Doubleday (1963) and in 1982 by the University of Arkansas Press, Story Hour takes many well-known fairy tales -- Jack and the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood -- and turns them on end. In this collection of poems, Sara Henderson Hay asks us to feel compassion for "the murdered Giant"; to believe that the grandmother might even invite the wolf in and offer him "a warm bed, and a bone or two"; and to walk along dark streets with a young man who has escaped the hard life inside the shoe but not his mother's reach. Hay's deft and efficient voice makes these familiar stories at times funny, always ironic, and, as Miller Williams writes in the foreword to this new version, "even scarier than they were."Hay manages the unexpected points of view in these poems through the sonnet. Using the turn, the shift in rhetoric on which the sonnet relies, she establishes and subtly undermines our notions of the fairy tales before giving us a completely new sense ofthem, sometimes more compassionate than they once were. Beauty, married to the new Prince, "thought of the good Beast, who used to walk / Beside her in the garden, and who had / Such gentle eyes, and such a loving arm / To shield her from the briers, and keep her warm." Whether these poems bring to the surface a joke we hadn't darkness only hinted at before, they always invite imagined, or quicken our memory to the us to go back into what Miller Williams calls "these old houses we thought we knew so well."
This is one book that can't be previewed on Amazon, but it may be previewed on the publisher's site at Story Hour. Many of the poems and illustrations are viewable there.

And now to share one of the poems, captured from the preview. This is copyrighted so please don't copy--that's why it is an image and not typed text--so enjoy and consider buying the book....

1 comment:

  1. On May 2, 1986, I wrote a "response poem" to Sara Henderson Hay's "Story Hour." Entitled "A Parody on Sara Henderson Hay's Story Hour" it reads as follows:

    Mama, I remember:
    The Dragon, The Bad Fairy,
    The Witch, The Goosegirl,
    The Princess and The Sleeper
    (And The Sleepwaker too)...
    Rapunzel and The Marriage,
    The Grievance and The Memory...
    And the death of Humpty Dumpty
    As he sat upon the wall.

    Mama, I remember:
    The Housewife and The Formula
    And The Message to the Vigilantes...
    The Warrior and The Bird's Nest
    And The Winter's Tale...
    The Flaw.

    Mam, I remember:
    'Midst the laughter and the wails,
    A host of children's nursery rhymes
    And wicked old folk tales
    Told in bland verse by the poet
    Dearest Sara Henderson Hay.

    Mama, I remember:
    And my memory is here to stay!

    Karl C. Folkes (c) May 2, 1986
    (Karl Folkes, Ph.D., Retired Educator)