Sunday, April 01, 2012

Allan Wolf - The Greatest Nation on Earth

The Greatest Nation on Earth
Allan Wolf

I’ve climbed the heights of Everest,
one hand behind my back.
I’ve seen the sights of Asia sitting
high atop a Yak.

Fed Antelope in Africa
and kissed a crocodile
as I was rafting all alone
along the river Nile.

I’m quite the global traveler.
I’ve been to every land:
China, England, Russia, Rome,
New Guinea, and Sudan.

New Zealand and Australia,
Yugoslavia and Perth.
Canada and India.
Dallas and Fort Worth.

But although these wondrous places hold
a certain fascination,
the greatest nation in the world
is. . . my own imagination!

I visit remarkable, marvelous lands
and never leave my chair.
I only have to read a book
to feel as though I’m there.

So hop aboard the Word Express.
It’s leaving from the station.
The only ticket needed is
your own imagination.

Whatever are you waiting for?
The adventure starts today.
Just take a book down from the shelf
and. . . you’re on your way.

© Allan Wolf. All rights reserved.

While I think Allan Wolf's poem would be great any day, week, or month, I'm particularly happy to share it today, kicking off National Poetry Month and 30 Poets/30 Days here at GottaBook. The spirit of the poem, not to mention the wordplay, the twist on the title, and the rhythm and rhyme, gets me jazzed up about poetry, books, and more. Good times!

I've never had the pleasure of seeing Allan Wolf - a National Sonnet Slam Champ, a musician, and the former educational director of Poetry Alive! (a poetry performance troop) - in person, so I've had to make due with "just" his words on the page.

And what I'm consistently struck by, whether going back to The Blood-Hungry Spleen (yes, I refuse to add the rest of the title because I am gleeful when I speak of a children's poetry book called The Blood-Hungry Spleen) or reading his most recent work, the novel in verse (and more) The Watch That Ends the Night, is that his words are remarkable. I mean, he can create characters that move me as he weaves fact and imagination together to make stories from the Titanic come alive OR he can slay me with a punchline and I'll go gladly along with him truly not caring what's coming next because I trust that it'll be worth the trip. And that gift of his is one reason why I'm so happy to have him there today kicking off 30 Poets/30 Days.

Allan's started us off in grand style. Tomorrow... The Northern Lights by Kalli Dakos! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


Linda B said...

What a terrific beginning to poetry month, Greg. I will put it into my collection of book poems. Thanks!

Dana said...

I look forward to sharing this poem with teachers and students this week. said...

Lovely poem! And I'll look out for that novel in verse too, thanks Greg.

skanny17 said...

I am adding this to the repertoire of poems I teach my students! In third grade we "travel" around the world and they will love the surprise ending. Librarians will eat this up! Thanks for taking us on the trip with you, Allan. Janet from Skaneateles. Thanks, Greg, for a wonderful poem to start this month.

Moca said...

Such a fun poem! I'm sharing tomorrow in class:)

Susan Taylor Brown said...

A great start to what looks to be another wonderful installment in this series.

The Watch That Ends the Night is at the top of one of my favorite verse novels. Combining history with verse makes both easier for readers who might otherwise be reluctant. The book is powerful.

Mary Lee said...

I am excited to get to know more of Allan Wolf's poetry, now that I've been introduced through the tournament.

Jeannine Atkins said...

Thank you! And I'm with Susan, a huge fan of The Watch That Ends the Night.

Amy LV said...

A perfect kickoff from a poet who can touch our serious and funny sides. One of my Allan-favorites is IMMERSED IN VERSE. Thank you, Greg!

tanita✿davis said...

This reminds me of that poem you wrote about cheering poets. It's inspired.

Liz Brownlee said...

What a fabulous poem, Allan!

Really enjoyed this very much indeed.

Charles Waters said...

The Wolf-man is at 30/30! Love it and love the passion he has for children's poetry.

Anonymous said...

What a great poem! For a moment, I was thinking you were going to say, Australia! ;) ImagiNation. Very cool! Ditto what Mary Lee said...

lynngb said...

Awesome poem! Even better when recited by you to our students here at the O'Neal School in early March! Thanks, Allan!