My age is three hundred and seventy-two,
And I think, with the deepest regret,
How I used to pick up and voraciously chew
The dear little boys whom I met.
— “The Sleepy Giant,” Charles E. Carryl
What I have been trying to do with 90-plus posts about how cool (most) poetry is, Natalie Merchant has already done with one CD, a book, a terrific website about both and a TED talk.
I didn’t know about this project, because I live under a selectively permeable rock—but just in case I’m not alone, several years ago, Ms. Merchant discovered—or re-discovered—some forgotten or overlooked children’s poetry, decided to set several of the works to music, and ended up researching the lives of the poets, too.
As one does.
I love that Ms. Merchant has used her talents to showcase and highlight poems and poetry that otherwise wouldn’t be seen. She calls it ‘bringing life to flat, dead pages,’ and while I don’t see it quite that way,* it’s wonderful to listen to her interpretations of the poems she chose and see how they differ, or don’t, from my own inner voice when I read them.
Which, I’m sure, was exactly what Ms. Merchant wants us to do.
And damn, but the woman can sing:**
I invite you to go read the poems and listen to what she’s done and then come back and tell me which of them you like best.
*The printed word has never been dead to me—flat, maybe, but never inert.
**Which I did know, because no rock is that big.