Is Allan Wolf a poet, novelist, educator or performer? His website says he’s all three.
Wolf brings all of those talents to Cabarrus County this week with a presentation called, “Voices From the Titanic: Exploring History Through a Poet’s Eye,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at Mount Pleasant Middle School, sponsored by the Friends of the Mount Pleasant Library.
Earlier that day, Wolf will be at Northwest Cabarrus High School. He will visit other Cabarrus County schools, courtesy of the Cabarrus Arts Council, later this month and in December.
“Voices from the Titanic” is a presentation based on Wolf’s award-winning book, “The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic,” a novel written like poetry rather than prose. More than two dozen voices, from the ship’s captain to its passengers, crew members and even the iceberg, tell the story of the Titanic. They stories don’t stand alone, he said, but have to be read in the context of the whole collection. As a reading experience, he said the novel is “kind of cinematic” – like the storyboard of a movie, where you see the development from scene to scene.
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His presentation will be similar. With props such as a 5-foot foam rubber Titanic puppet, and pictures of the passengers from his book, Wolf will speak in their voices. There may also be some reader’s theater, a quiz and a re-enactment of the sinking. Wolf hastens to point out that reading his book is not a requirement for enjoying the show. Even if all you know about the Titanic comes from the 1997 film, you will enjoy hearing Wolf. “Each person (on the Titanic) has a story more interesting than the one in the movie,” he said.
Figuring out how to tell the story is like standing on one shore of the Red Sea, Wolf said. “I need to get myself, my characters and the truth to the other side.” His goal is to part the sea in a way that feels natural, yet in a way that has never been done before. It should be “inevitable and miraculous,” he said. “If you do that, you’ve got a great book.”
“Poems do not want to be solved; they want to be savored,” Wolf said.
Poets don’t write poems so that students can take a test on them, he explains. “They write to explore an idea, create depth, and show that the ordinary is actually extraordinary.” Whether he’s writing a poem or novel, performing, or educating, Allan Wolf is always creating and encouraging everyone to be “po-folk,” seeing the world with a poet’s eye.
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer: EasternCabarrusWriter@gmail.com
Want to go?
Allan Wolf’s presentation Oct. 13 at Mount Pleasant Middle School is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the school’s media center. Autographed copies of his books will be available for purchase. For information, contact the Mount Pleasant Library at 704-920-2202.