Allan Wolf has written a dozen books. He was instrumental in establishing the Slam Poetry here in Asheville. He is, as he says, “emersed in verse.” Yeserday, Oct. 18, nearly 200 middle school students found out a lot more about writing, poetry, performance, and oh yeah, the Titanic at the Transylvania County Library in Brevard.
“We will see how this goes,” said Wolf. “This is the maiden voyage for my foam rubber model. We saw what happened with the real version.”
It went significantly better in this century. The kids – many of whom had read the book in class – seemed fascinated with the historical and poetic presentation. Wolf combined humor and history, puns and demonstrations in an interesting, and (ahem) riveting presentation on the doomed ship.
His Titanic research spanned five years, “to separate the fact from the fiction, and look into the legends,” said Wolf. The meticulous research comes through in the voices of the dead of a hundred years ago. His characters become larger-than-life in the prose and the pairings he chose.
The most famous pairing from the movie “Titanic,” Jack and Rose? “Uh, no,” says Wolf, “The Titanic was designed to keep first-class and third class from mingling. This it did well.” Add the crow’s nest right above the bow and having to climb over anchor chains and various other equipment, “the bow would have been off-limits to passengers. Especially a first-class woman and a third-class man in 1912. Still, the scene made me cry,” said Wolf.
And riveting? Wolf passed around a replica of the rivets used to hold Titanic together. Over 3 million of the one-pound rivets held the plates of the massive ship together. Kids passing the rivet around clearly had no idea of the mass and size of the ship were impressed with numbers like that.
Look for more talks coming soon. As Wolf would say, “Metaphors be with you.”