Allan Wolf is an educator-writer-musician extraordinaire. He has literally hundreds of poems committed to memory. He is a veteran traveler through all the diverse worlds of poetry—from poetry slams to public schools, salons to saloons. He turns classic poetry into acoustic tunes as the drummer for The Dead Poets band. He put the Oh! in poetry as the educational director for national touring company Poetry Alive! Allan Wolf knows poems.
This expertise was exhibited in Allan Wolf’s first book with Candlewick Press, The Blood-Hungry Spleen and Other Poems About Our Parts. A collection of wacky—and anatomically correct—poems about body parts, The Blood-Hungry Spleen is transforming science classes across the country. Before starting the book, Allan Wolf drew on inspiration from his stint as Poet in Residence at a school in Seoul, Korea. “A sixth-grade life science class had displayed their poems about anatomy on a life-size chart of the human body,” explains the author. “There was a poem about the intestines on the intestines. A poem about the brain was written on the brain.” Since then, he says, “the human body has proved to be an infinite universe of poetic inspiration.”
Allan Wolf’s next book with Candlewick Press, New Found Land: Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery, also reveals the writer’s poetic roots. The exhilarating tale of Lewis and Clark’s journey is written in poetic form: a medley of lyrical and powerful voices from the surprisingly diverse crew. “During the four years it took to research and write New Found Land, my head was constantly crowded with the novel’s fourteen voices,” Allan Wolf says. “They talked to me as I made breakfast, as I dressed the baby, as I delivered newspapers, and as I brushed my teeth. They talked and talked. Alone in my car I began to talk back. And together all fifteen of us worked out the details of the story. Happily, my head is now quiet, the voices having moved to their permanent home within this book.”
More recently, Allan wrote Zane’s Trace, a coming-of-age road story with a supernatural twist, and The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, featuring twenty-four haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, including the iceberg itself, evoked in a stunning tour de force.
Allan Wolf lives in North Carolina with his wife and three children.