Mel Glenn Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What makes a more appropriate metaphor for the poet: a guidance counselor or a teacher?

Mel Glenn’s poetry raises problems of adolescence without offering solutions. In what ways does this strategy impact the reading experience?

How do Glenn’s character-voices avoid becoming stereotypes?

What is the role of the poet, and the poet’s own experiences and feelings, in poetry that depends on created voices?

How does the technique of free verse affect the reading experience? Do the poems have the feel of traditional poetry? Would more traditional poetic forms work with Glenn’s characters?

Glenn’s poetry represents a distinctly urban world. Would this type of poetry succeed in a rural setting?

Glenn has often spoken of how his poems speak to the “kid” inside everybody. Define that inner child.

What does Glenn’s technique of cooperative monologues reveal about the nature of truth and the reliability of appearances?

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Mel Glenn developed his writing style preparing nonfiction articles for his college newspaper. He wrote three novels for children, One Order to Go (1984), Play-by-Play (1986), and Squeeze Play: A Baseball Story (1989). Glenn contributed an autobiographical essay to Teri Lesesne’s Making the Match: The Right Book for the Right Reader at the Right Time (2003). He wrote the foreword for Young Adult Poetry: A Survey and Theme Guide (2002), edited by Rachel Schwedt and Janice DeLong. Glenn published material for educators in ALAN Review and Voices from the Middle. His short stories incorporating verse appeared in two anthologies edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss: Lost and Found: Award-Winning Authors Sharing Real-Life Experiences Through Fiction (2000) and Dreams and Visions: Fourteen Flights of Fancy (2006). The New York Times “Metropolitan Diary” section has printed Glenn’s submissions.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Mel Glenn’s first book, Class Dismissed!, was designated a Society of Children’s Book Writers Golden Kite Honor Book in 1982 and an American Library Association (ALA) Best Book for Young Adults. In 1987, Class Dismissed II received the Christopher Award and was designated one of the year’s notable books by the School Library Journal. The ALA selected My Friend’s Got This Problem, Mr. Candler as a Best Book for Young Adults. In 1996, Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? became the first book written in verse to receive an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America. The Taking of Room 114 was a Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award nominee in 2000. Split Image was a 2002 International Reading Association Young Adult Choice.


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Children’s Literature Review, pp. 84-95. Detroit: Gale, 1999.

Copeland, Jeffrey S. Speaking of Poets: Interviews with Poets Who Write for Children and Young Adults. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Lesesne, Teri S. “Mel Glenn.” In Writers for Young Adults, edited by Ted Hipple. Supplement 1. New York: Scribner, 2000.

“Mel Glenn.” In Contemporary Authors: New Revised Series. Vol. 127. Detroit: Gale, 1989.

“Mel Glenn.” In Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994.

Mel Glenn Web site.

Thomas, Joseph T., Jr. “Mel Glenn and Arnold Adoff: The Poetics of Power in the Adolescent Voice-Lyric.” Style 35, no. 3 (Fall, 2001): 486-497.