So when was the last time you read a fairy tale? I mean, for yourself? Maybe it was the first one you remember reading or hearing, or simply a favorite one from your childhood, or simply something you recently read for the first time ever. No matter when you read them, fairy tales are timeless and magical as are poems. And today’s post deals with both: fairy tales and poems…
Fairy tales are familiar to most of us, no matter where we grew up. Each region of the world has its own versions of fairy tales, folktales, fables, and myths; many of them the same tale retold with twists to fit in with local cultures, likes, and such, and others having shifted over years. So many of them must have encountered countless changes with many retellings before they found themselves on paper.
This week brings with it National Tell a Fairy Tale Day (on the 26th of February), so read on to find out a cool way to celebrate it (plus more)..
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Poetic Sundays: Fairy Tales and Poems
This week is not about a poetic form as such but more about using something familiar to inspire our imaginations and write poetry. As you have obviously guessed, I am talking about fairy tales. Fairy tales offer a rich playground for imaginations, and given that many of them were written ages ago, certainly can be rewritten to match today’s cultural thoughts and sentiments.
So today, I talk about how we can take those fascinating fairy tales and turn them into poems – powerful, playful, pleasant, or simply pretty … pretty cool, funny, sweet, strong, or just plain pretty!!
How To Guide: (Re)Writing Fairy Tales as Poems
- Pick a fairy tale you want to base your poem on. It could be an old familiar or favorite one; or it could be something you have never read before. And I know there are tons of such stories. You can also look for variants of familiar stories from around the world for inspiration. (Foe example, you can read a few variations of Beauty and the Beast on Wikipedia)
- Read it carefully, thoroughly, as if you are reading it for the first time (maybe you are too)
- Make notes of interesting lines, characters who interest you, details that catch your eye, thoughts you have on ‘what-ifs’ (what if this had happened instead, or what if the story was set in today’s world, what if …)
- Now write your poem.. I know, I know, I have some tips and ideas to help, so fret not..
Tips and Ideas
- From your notes earlier, do you have an interesting detail you want to focus on?
- Maybe, you wondered about Belle’s room in her home. What was it like? Did she have lots of books in her room as well? Or just a small shelf of books? How would she have decorated her room?
- Write a poem from a character’s perspective.
- For example, you could pick the fairy godmother from Cinderella and tell the story from her viewpoint
- Or, you could write using the voice of the tiny teacup in Beauty and the Beast (or even the famed rose)
- Or write a poem by placing a character or a part of the tale itself (or the whole story) in your world today.
- What if Thumbelina was your friend?
- Retell the fairy tale – to make it more suitable for today, or set it in a different world (another fairy tale maybe, or a sci-fi setting, or..)
- What if Hansel and Gretel were in Middle-Earth, or if they had the cat from Coraline guiding them along? What if Jack (from the Beanstalk story) and Aladdin were best friends?
- Make it funny and/or satirical, like with Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes
- Use your poem to be your vehicle for a powerful message, like with Nikita Gill’s Fierce Fairytales
- You could make it a team effort by using the exercise from Ken Nesbitt’s page here
More General Tips
- Deviate from the original even you are simply choosing to tell the same story in a poetic form. Readers love surprises.
- The Missing Pieces…Talk about an aspect of the story that you might have wondered about, but is not in the fairy tale itself.
- For example, did the fairy godmother in Cinderella help others when she was not helping Cinderella? Write a poem about another person she might have helped .. Or simply a list of favorite things of one of the characters in any tale. I sometimes wondered about these characters when they were younger – did Belle have friends in her village or town? What about Aladdin?
- Focus on a central message you got from the original story (whether it is the cliched ‘happily-ever-after’ or about being kind or brave or sensitive to others needs) and write about that aspect of the tale
- If your poem is from a character’s perspective, you could title the poem using that character’s name (or made-up name – but make it clear that this is the character); for other types of poems, you could play upon the original title using your twist
- Last but not the least, feel free to use any poetic form for this, but don’t forget to employ at least a few poetic devices to make it interesting (like assonance, internal and/or end rhymes, parallelism, alliteration, and more)
Go on a Tangent, if you wish for your Fairy Tale Poem
- Or you could simply write your own fairy tale – make up characters, worlds, and everything else you need for a fairy tale – and write a poem.
- On the other hand, you could reimagine your life as a fairy tale too (or a part of it)…
My Paltry Poetic Attempt
So the enchanted rose we see in Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast is totally Disney’s creation (along with the whole enchanting charming talking furniture and dinner set), at least as far as I can see. If you have seen mention of any enchanted rose in any of the versions of this fairy tale (other than Disney’s), do let me know..
Please pardon this first attempt of mine. I have a few ideas for other poems and I will post them here or elsewhere soon.
The (Dis)Enchanted Rose
Should I start withering away,
At a faster pace than a petal a day?
Maybe I can hurry those slowpokes now
And then gladly make my final bow..
~Vidya Tiru @LadyInReadWrites
Further reading and h/t
- How to read a fairy tale
- Ending a Famous Fairy Tale (University of Arizona Poetry Center)
- Myths and Fairy Tales: Poems for Kids (Poets.org)
- Fairy Tale Poems
- This post from Young Poets Network
- Why Use Fairy Tales in Poetry?
- Read these fun poetic takes on popular fairy tales by Becky Ross Michael for inspiration
On My Blog & the Blogosphere
My recent posts since and including my last Sunday Scribblings:
- Sunday Scribblings #96: Love All the Layers of Life
- Love Is …. a Multitude of Wondrous Things (book reviews)
- Books That Are Too Good to Review Properly (top ten bookish list)
- Many Words For One Thing: So Many Beautiful Choices (book review)
- Around the World in Books (book review)
Check out the Cybils award winners that were announced on the 14th of February!!
& at Home
We got lemon meringue pie from Marie Callender’s and it is much bigger than we thought it would be; or have our appetites for dessert simply reduced? I am not sure but it is certainly taking longer than it did in the past to eat pie…:-)
Have you had anything like this happen to you? As for me, I have (seems of late like had though) a huge sweet tooth and this surprises me.
On My Blog & Homefront
I hope (as always) to share books, and also bring at least something else on the table (blog, I mean) this week. My son is home for the long weekend but he will head back to college before we know it. My high-schooler has the whole week off – ski-break – and she will be enjoying her coming weekend snow-camping with her scout troop. If they manage to build a snow-dwelling, they will sleep in it for the two nights 🙂 and we will live vicariously through their experiences while being home-bound or hiking locally.
This Week’s Celebrations
Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)
- Literary birthdays this week of February include: Anais Nin, Chuck Palahniuk, Erma Bombeck, W.H. Auden on the 21st of February; Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edward Gorey on the 22nd; W.E.B. Du Bois and Francesca Simon on the 23rd; Gillian Flynn, Wilhelm Carl Grimm, Laila Lalami, and Rainbow Rowell on the 24th; Anthony Burgess on the 25th; Victor Hugo on the 26th; Lawrence George Durrell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Steinbeck, and Angelina Weld Grimké on the 27th
- International Mother Language Day is on the 21st of February
- World Thinking Day is on the 22nd of February
- National Tell a Fairy Tale Day is on the 26th of February
- February 21st is National Grain-Free Day and National Sticky Bun Day
- National Cook a Sweet Potato Day is on the 22nd of February along with National Margarita Day
- I am sure many of us will enjoy National Banana Bread Day on the 23rd (certainly the baked good I have made most often over the past few years!!)
- February 24th is National Tortilla Chip Day, and being the last/fourth Thursday in Feb apparently also makes it National Toast Day and National Chili Day!
- I know I will enjoy National Chocolate Covered Nut Day on the 25th
- And a specific nut to relish with National Pistachio Day on the 26th
- The 27th of February is National Strawberry Day
- February 26th is National Set a Good Example Day
- World NGO Day and National Polar Bear Day are on the 27th of February; you can also step back in time for it is National Retro Day
- National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – Begins the Last Monday in February
- National Engineers Week – Week of George Washington’s Birthday (Feb. 22) from Saturday to Saturday
- National Invasive Species Week – Begins the Last Monday in February
Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings
So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month?