Words in Play
Saturday Morning Coffee Talk, July 28

Poetry Friday: Fairy Tale Follow-up

Today's Poetry Friday selection is "Beauty and the Beast: An Anniversary," by Jane Yolen. I found the poem in the archives of The Journal of Mythic Arts at The Endicott Studio. Told from the point of view of Beauty, the poem checks up on the famous pair some years after the tumultuous events (and imagines a different ending for the original story).

I came to "Beauty and the Beast..." in a roundabout way. Lately I've been reading aloud from a book of Japanese folk tales. My son studied Japan in second grade last spring, and he is still keen to hear more about the country. Digging around on the Internet for more folk- and fairy-tale information, I re-discovered the SurLaLune Fairy Tales web site, which has been re-designed since my last visit. This is one comprehensive site. Wow. If you have any interest in the genre, SurLaLune is a must-see.

SurLaLune highly recommended The Endicott Studio, where I came across the Yolen poem. I've already seen familiar faces and fellow bloggers there: both Gwenda Bond and Colleen Mondor are contributors to the current issue of The Journal of Mythic Arts.

While I didn't find anything on Japanese folk tales, I found fascinating diversions. Yay for the Internet! (Update 7/28: As it turns out, SurLaLune contains the text of the 19th-century book Tales of Old Japan; I just missed it on the first go-round.)

For more Poetry Friday offerings, see Jone, at Check It Out. She has the roundup.


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I really enjoy reading poetic interpretations of fairy tales, which is probably why I still have Anne Sexton's Transformations after all these years (and moves). I appreciate that Yolen's Beast never changed into a handsome prince. Robin McKinley said she rewrote her Beauty and the Beast story to make it so that the Beast didn't turn (and I wish she could have just combined the best from both of her books-- Rose Garden had too many confounded roses!).

Alkelda, I've been eying the Andrew Lang collections of fairy tales at the local library. Have you read them? I also just requested "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales" from interlibrary loan. I was intrigued after reading about it somewhere.

Susan, I'm sure your library will come through for you, but if not, I own Mirror, Mirror and could loan it to you. I also have a very old copy of The Green Fairy Book on my office's "inspiration shelf." I read most all of Andrew Lang's books as a kid. (Yes, they were shelved in the kid's section of the library!) I'm remembering that they get more and more obscure as the series goes on, so you might want to start with a primary color, and not "Olive." :)

Sara, thank you so much. That is such a kind offer! Interlibrary loan, though, should be delivering it soon. I'm looking forward to it. I saw some nice editions of the Lang collections at a library in a nearby town; I'll have to go back once we finish the most recent batch of books.


I selected a fairy tale poem for Poetry Friday, too. I also like Jane Yolen's poem "Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale," which I found at Poetry 180. It's included in Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry.

I just got back from the Simmons Children's Literature Institute--but I'm too drained to write a post about it today. I will say that it was outstanding...as always!

Elaine, we've been reading several fairy-tale adaptations lately, so I've been thinking about them more. Will have to look for that other poem by Jane Yolen.

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