Masking / Unmasking

Jane Yolen

“Writing is both mask and unveiling”—E.B.White

It’s a dance, of course, mask on, mask off,
a Balinese shadow play.

We follow the sway of hips, the touch of lips,
wallow in passions we don’t ourselves have.

I would have whapped an actual Heathcliffe
with a frying pan had he touched my daughter.

Once I screamed in the theater at Phaedre’s choices,
saying no good would come of it, but she didn’t listen.

I’d have goaded Alice into insurrection,
overthrowing both Red and White queens.

And Oz was a monster, sending a child, a dog,
and three creatures to do his dirty work. 

But who wears the mask?
Who does the unveiling?
Those are the question we forget to ask.



Jane Yolen’s 380th published book is about to come out. She sends out poems to journals on a regular basis and has quite a few in sf/fantasy magazines as well. She is a Grand Master of SFPA (Science Fiction/Fantasy Poets of America), as well as a Grandmaster of SFWA and World Fantasy Assn. She has won the Nebula two times, Mythopoeic Award three times, and been nominated (but never won) for the Hugo several times. Six colleges & universities have given her honorary doctorates for her body of work.