Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street




Al Ortolani

« Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner »

Hansel and Gretel by Al OrtolaniHansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street contains poems written over several years. Each poem is like a chalk mark on a blackboard. Much like the teacher who has leaned one too many times against the chalk tray, Ortolani wears his poems on the back of pants, his shirt sleeves, his jacket elbows. These poems represent connections to others, sometimes dark, sometimes light, often quirky. A fellow teacher, and mentor to the poet, once said that one of the most difficult measures of the career public school teacher is their ability to stay positive and elevated by interest, if not always in the subject matter, then in the hand raised outside of the T zone.

Sample Poems

• “Switch Plate
• “Eighth Grade Industrial Arts
• “Yellow Bees

Other Poems by Al Ortolani

• “The Taco Boat” in Rattle #57
• “Butterfly Valve” in Rattle #61
• “The Sleep of Emmett Kelly” in Valparaiso Poetry Review
Four Poems in Galway Review

About the Author

Al OrtolaniAl Ortolani’s newest collection of poetry, On the Chicopee Spur, was released from New York Quarterly Books in 2018. How Wally Lost His Thumb and the Boy Scouts Became Cannibals, a mix of old and new “Wally poems,” also appeared from Spartan Press the same year. A previous collection, Ghost Sign, co-authored with J.T. Knoll, Adam Jameson, and Melissa Fite Johnson, was selected as a Kansas Notable Book for 2017. Ortolani is the manuscript editor for Woodley Press, and has directed a memoir writing project for Vietnam veterans across Kansas in association with the Library of Congress and Humanities Kansas. After 43 years of teaching English in public schools, he currently lives a life without bells and fire drills in the Kansas City area. (web)


Cover art by Jacque Forsher (web)

ISBN: 978-1-931307-42-0
Cover price: $6.00
Chapbook: 40 pages
Size: 6″ x 9″


Al Ortolani was the guest on episode 10 of the Rattlecast! Click here to watch, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!