Briefly Noted: ‘The Last Selchie Child’ by Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen’s collected poems in The Last Selchie Child, from A Midsummer Night’s Press, are a celebration of storytelling. Part I, Story explores the craft itself; Part II, Stories takes us to the sea and elsewhere into the distant past when the world’s once-upon-a-times were more intangible than they are today; and Part III, Telling the True, gets to the heart of the matter, the veracity of the tales a storyteller tells.
In “The Storyteller,” in Part I, Yolen writes about the fundamental essence of the art of a tale:
It is the oldest feat
What you saw,
what you heard
was equal to a new creation.
The title poem “The Last Selchie Child” begins Part II:
But I am the last selchie child,
my blood runs cold in my veins
like an onrushing tide.
In Part III, “Family Stories” reminds readers of the childhood stories they heard, but no longer recall:
My brother and I
are pieced together
like crazy quilts.
We keep warm
on winter evenings
with the weight
of all those tales.
Magical transformations, enchanted mirrors, talking animals, familiar tales in unfamiliar guises, all these and more are found in the pages of The Last Selchie Child.
Retellings of archetypal myths and fairy tales and the nature of storytelling itself are explored in this new collection of poems by Jane Yolen.
This tiny book of tales, published in a 6×4 format, grows larger and larger with each reading of its magical poems.