Shel Silverbanned

How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes

If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore

Shel Silverstein’s book of poetry A Light in the Attic (1981) was challenged and then banned at Cunningham Elementary School in Wisconsin because it “encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” Another school in Mukwanago Wisconsin banned it in 1986 because some of its poems “glorified Satan, suicide and cannibalism, and also encouraged children to be disobedient.”

Silverstein’s 1974 work Where the Sidewalk Ends also drew challenges. It was banned from West Allis Milwaukee school libraries in 1986 because it “promotes drug use, the occult, suicide, death, violence, disrespect for truth, disrespect for authority, and rebellion against parents.” This work was also banned by the Central Columbia School District, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, specifically referencing the poem “Dreadful” and the concern that lines like “someone ate the baby” would encourage students to engage in cannibalism.

—from the Banned & Dangerous Art blog.

Gift Bags

Sometimes, when you fly in to do a workshop, theatre companies give you welcome packets with maps. Sometimes free tickets. Occasionally, snacks. Kitchen Dog had them all beat. photo (11) I don’t know what they thought I had time to do after rehearsal, but I’m flattered.

PHOEBE in Tech

Back in New York, after a 5 am airport run, sitting in the Wild Project as we tech PHOEBE. Blood, glass, and peas. Right now people are drowning each other. Someone just got slapped with a piece of beef.

The Money’s In The Banana Stand

No sandwich? No problem, Mike Donahue. As you turn away to give notes to the actors, your unguarded fruit will suffice. photo (13) After our run-through, we head to the Biergarten to listen to the playlist our sound designer Stowe Nelson has cooked up.

Christine Scarfuto dramaturgs the sound cues while Mike Donahue practices being ridiculously good-looking.

Christine Scarfuto dramaturgs the sound cues while Mike Donahue practices being ridiculously good-looking.

And now that PHOEBE is about to head into tech…I’m heading to Texas for a few days at Kitchen Dog Theater, with the NNPN Conference. Homeland of all cowboy boots!


“I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the intersections of human understanding and human habitus, robust intersections of the pragmatic and the sublime, that science shares with art, and I love the thought that poetry can learn from and do homage to its near cousins. The great thing about ‘facts’ (and the scientists are much more sophisticated skeptics than the poets are) is that they put up resistance. Resistance is good for art, and for thinking in general.”

—Linda Gregerson

Toxic Seven

Meet the newest member of my little family. He’s an avocado plant. Given that avocado is the one thing on this earth that I am allergic to, Swan and I named him “Toxic Seven”—because he had seven leaves when I adopted him. Cat then proceeded to eat two of the leaves when my back was turned. Toxic Seven has not, however, become Toxic Five, because we are all holding out hope that someday he will be Toxic Seven again. IMG_0679