Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 11

All month long, we're writing poetic letters!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Frank Baum,
    Thank you for writing my favorite childhood book,
    The Enchanted Island of Yu.
    I found that book in a forgotten bookcase
    at Grandmother Russell’s house
    in Memphis and read it at least
    ten times while I stayed there. When I
    was recalled to Burlington, I asked
    Grandmother if I could take the book along
    and she said, “No.” Aunt Meta explained
    that she felt people were trying to take
    all of her things because she was
    about to die, and she was determined
    to live forever. Then Aunt Meta
    slipped the book
    into my suitcase.

    While Miss Taylor read Wizard of Oz
    aloud every day after lunch
    while most of the kids dozed
    and nodded over their carved
    and defaced desks, the respositories
    of forbidden knowledge, the places
    to find words you can’t ask your parents
    to define, I listened with rapt attention
    knowing my book’s author also wrote
    this epic of flying mean monkeys,
    witches, and powerless wizards.

    Am I kidding myself to think that
    the Wizard is a secret feminist work?
    The little girl and the witches are
    loci of power and might, right? and
    the male fellow travelers and the
    wizard can’t do squat, right?
    In Yu, in Baum’s unknown sister book,
    a fairy decides to become human
    for a year. She interviews girls
    and decides that their lives are no fun.

    So she becomes Prince Marvel
    for a year, is autonomous, unquestioned.
    He rides through all five kingdoms
    on the Isle of Yu and solves all the
    problems of their people, then
    moves on. He’s a rolling stone,
    won’t marry anyone, much to
    their disappointment. At the
    end of the year, she resumes
    her fairy selfhood, says goodbye
    to the girls and tells them they
    were absolutely right,
    girls have no fun.
    If you are a human,
    you’d better be a boy. Whoa
    Frank Baum, what year was
    that? I loved every word.