Saturday, October 29, 2011

Library Essentials Month: The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales

The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont and Claudia Carlson is the other library essential with a poetry theme today. This is a great collection--unfortunately out of print. I admit I am sentimentally attached to it since the editors used SurLaLune to help recruit and find poetry while they were compiling their manuscript. The result was excellent thanks to the editors' hard work and I was happy to have helped it along just a little.

Book description from the publisher:

Writers and readers have long been inspired by the haunting wisdom and sheer imaginative power to be found in the fairy tales of the immortal Brothers Grimm. The editors have collected more than a hundred poems inspired by Grimm tales and written by our finest living poets. A brilliant and informative anthology, a teachable text.

Jeanne Marie Beaumont first book of poetry, Placebo Effects, was selected by William Matthews for the National Poetry Series in 1997. She teaches at Rutgers University. Claudia Carlson works at Oxford University Press in New York. Her poems have appeared in Heliotrope, Coracle, Space and Time, Fantastic Stories and NYCBigCityLit.comm

From the Introduction:

These poems reveal the complex relationship that exists between contemporary poets and a received body of myth or lore. The Grimm tales are subject to a significant amount of skepticism, of refutation or "talking back," and of fracturing or breaking down. Yet an abiding, if irreverent, affection and appreciation for the tales, an acknowledgment of their continuing pull and metaphoric power also can be discerned. There is a mutual enrichment when poets become tale (re)tellers: the poets keep the stories current and fresh and give them back their original vivacity, rigor, and immediacy, while the stories enable the poets to tap into a vast and resonant source of symbol and cultural history. The tales become again "full of mystery like all living things," released from the confines of the nursery, rescued from ossification or sentimentalization, able again to fill us with wonder, dread, and delight.

Table of Contents (sorry no poets names are listed, but you can see the breadth and length of what is offered):

Introduction Landscape: In the Forest
Voices from the Forest
Afraid to Look Afraid to Look Away
Asleep in the Forest
Black Fairy Tale
Further Adventures
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The Sleeping Kingdom
Briar Rose
Hotel Grimm
Lost in the Forest
Fairy Tales
Fairy Tale
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The Maiden Without Hands
The White Snake
The Sister of the Swans
An Embroidery (I)
Cinderella's Story
The Frog Prince
The Stepmother Arrives
Babe in the Woods
The Robber Bridegroom
What Bugs Bunny Said to Red Riding Hood
The Wolf's Postscript to "Little Red Riding Hood"
Gretel, Lost
Hansel Tells Gretel of the Witch
Gretel, from a sudden clearing
Witch Words
The Witch
The Fisherman's Wife
The Sleeper 1 and 2
The Gift
Sleeping Beauty Has Words
The Bear
Snow White and Rose Red
Rapunzel Shorn
The Prince
Straw Into Gold
Her Shadow
Snow White in Exile
A Spell for Sleeping
from The Sleeping Beauty
The Glass Coffin
Sleeping Beauty's Dreams
The Frog Prince
Fractured Fairy Tale
The Sleeping Princess
Sleeping Beauty
Beauty Sleeping Now
The Objects in Fairy Tales
Snow White: The Mirror
Snow White Turns 39
The Poisoned Apple
Rapunzel's Clock
The Glass Slipper
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Cinderella's Life at the Castle
Little Red-Cap
The Skeptical Prince
Rumplestiltskin Keeps Mum
Kissing the Toad
How to Change a Frog Into a Prince
Where's Wolf?
Hans My Hedgehog
The Robber Bridegroom
The Goosegirl
The Fisherman's Wife
Sex and Politics in Fairyland
Fairy Tale
Song for Rapunzel
Cinderella Dream at Ten
The Two Gretels
One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes
Brother and Sister
Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale
Rose Red
The Stepsister's Story
Girl Without Hands
To the Nixie of the Mill-Pond
Little Red Riding Hood
Lessons from a Mirror
The Wicked Witch
Against Cinderella
The Sleeping Beauty: Variation of the Prince
The True Story of Snow White
Anaconda Mining Makes the Seven Dwarfs an Offer
HM Customs & Excise
Juvenile Court
The Social Worker Finds Hansel and Gretel Difficult to Place
On a Nineteenth Century Color Lithograph of Red Riding Hood by the Artist J. H.
The Peasant Girl
The Ugly Stepsister
Grave Fairytale
Rapunzel: A Modern Tale
Scorched Cinderella
The Girl With No Hands
Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins
Snow White and the Man Sent to Fetch Her Heart
Snow White
Hazel Tells LaVerne
Sleeping Beauty
Achtung, My Princess, Good Night
Ever After
Kissing the Frog
Cinderella and Lazarus, Part II
Twenty Years After
Gretel in Darkness
Hansel's Game
Snow White Over & Over
Snow White: The Prince
From the Journals of the Frog Prince
The Prince Who Woke Briar Rose
Queen Charming Writes Again
An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little
The Archaeology of a Marriage
Two Lines from the Brothers Grimm
The Old Story
Daughters with Toad
A Fairy Tale
A Happy Ending for the Lost Children
Nocturne with Witch, Oven and Two Little Figures
Snow White
Conversation with My Father
Transfiguration Begins at Home
Poem About Straw
The Wolf in the Bed
The Sleeping Beauty
This Is a Convalescent Home, Not the Fairy Tale Cottage and Always the Good Father
Like Gretel
Reading the Brothers Grimm to Jenny
Kinder-und Hausmarchen
About the Authors
Selected Bibliography
Index of Poems by Tale
Index of Authors and Titles
About the Editors

And an old review I wrote for it:

While this collection might appear gimmicky to some, a quick persusal of the table of contents will show that many respected poets have used fairy tale motifs in their work. Beaumont and Carlson have gathered numerous poems from a wide range of poets that reflect the enduring themes and characters we inherited through the work of the Brothers Grimm. The usual suspects, such as Anne Sexton, are here but so are some lesser known poets. The anthology is strong and represents many well-known fairy tales along with a few that are lesser known by the general public. The book is recommended for libraries and classrooms in which poetry and/or fairy tales are taught. It also makes great armchair reading for anyone interested in new interpretations of familiar stories.

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