Thursday, April 26, 2007

Two Poems by Gavin Gunhold

Registration Day

On registration day at taxidermy school
I distinctly saw the eyes of the stuffed moose
--Gavin Gunhold (Gordon Korman)

Fruit Fly

Due to the tragically short life span of the average
fruit fly,
College is not really an option.
Caps and gowns don''t come in that size anyway.
--Gavin Gunhold (Gordon Korman)

These are two of the poems in A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag by Gordon Korman. I may not have liked much of Mrs. Mertz's class in 5th and 6th grade, but she did have books available to borrow, and among them were Gordon Korman's first four Bruno and Boots books. I thought they were the funniest books I had ever read, and after I (quickly) got through them, I went to the library and checked out everything else he had ever written. When I was in 6th grade, he came to speak at the Young Authors conference, and even though Mom had signed up as a chaperone, and I was the only real fan in her class, Mrs. Mertz didn't pick me to go. I was crushed -- I REALLY wanted to hear him speak. Sigh... I finally did get to meet him several years later when he cam to another Young Authors, and we went as a family to the evening open house. Everybody in the family had a different one of his books for him to sign, and I was carrying Garbage Bag. It was a pretty beat up copy that I had gotten from a library discard sale. He said, "Wow, this looks like it's been through the washing machine!" I explained how much I loved reading his books, and how I'd been waiting years to meet him. He signed the book, "To Karen, Great meeting an "old" fan-- Gordon Korman"

I can also credit him with helping me get married. One of the few things Peter knew about me before our first date was the fact that I loved Gordon Korman's books. He figured that anyone with such good taste had to be right for him, so that gave him the last bit of courage to ask me out. We still occasionally get each other Gordon Korman books for Christmas and Birthdays, and read them aloud and laugh.

For those of you that don't know, Gavin Gunhold is Korman's signature non-existant character. He appears in most of his humorous books, usually when somebody has to make up a fake name for some reason. In this book, he's a Canadian gas station attendant who was killed while cashing the check for his single published poem. Our heroes in the book, for various reasons have to: keep people from finding out he's dead, make up more of his poetry to analyze for an English assignment, and pass off Gramps as the poet himself on national TV.

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