Friday, February 4, 2011

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

I'm sure you've heard the old adage "there are two sides to every story." But have you ever considered it in the case of fairy tales? Luckily for us, Marilyn Singer did and even invented a new form of poetry to do so, the reverso. In this collection, the poems not only read top to bottom, but bottom to top. You see, there are two sides to every story, even fairy tales.

The Poems: An explanation, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Ugly Duckling, Snow White, Jack and the beanstalk, the Three Bears, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, the Frog Prince, Beauty & the Beast, An End

What I thought: Inspired and brilliant. Singer is truly a genius. The reverso is a lovely form, but difficult (at least to me--I've tried it & didn't have much luck). The trick of composition befuddles me. I guess it's a case of line by line. Or do you write the whole poem and then see what it says in reverse, and make changes as needed? Okay, now that I've theorized the reverso, I think I'll give it another try.

Back to the review. I loved this collection. My favorite poems are "Rapunzel's Locks," "Bears in the News," and "Longing for Beauty." The illustrations are great--so vibrant. My favorites are Snow White, the Three Bears, and Beauty & the Beast.

(Illus. Josee Masse. Dutton, 2010)


Marilyn Singer said...

Hi, Bridget,

Thanks for the great comments! I usually start with the characters in the fairy tale and what the two sides of the story are. Then I look for a line or two that can be reversed and build from there. I wouldn't be able to write a whole poem and then just try to reverse it.

I have written a few reversos that arent' about fairy tales, but it's easier when you have a narrative/characters so you can flip the meaning.

Marilyn Singer

Bridget R. Wilson said...

Thanks, Marilyn! That makes sense. I'm having a after school program for 6th-8th graders and I'm hoping they'll try their hands at writing their own fairy tale reverso.