Thursday, May 03, 2007

Prufrock Press recently published an interview with Joel McIntosh, publisher of Prufrock Press. Started in 1988, Prufrock is one of the biggest houses devoted to books and journals on gifted children. If you've ordered teaching materials for gifted kids or books on parenting them (such as James Delisle's books), you've heard of this house. You can access the article here.

He has a few interesting points. First, countering the general trend of putting down "pushy parents," McIntosh says that parents need to advocate for gifted children more than ever before. I don't quite share his view on No Child Left Behind being so awful (in general, accountability is a good thing), though I agree that what gets measured gets attention, and so gifted children tend to be ignored in schools that are worried about falling close to the line on showing adequate yearly progress. In such an environment, parents who want their kids to receive a challenging education have to step up to the plate to help make that happen.

The other interesting tidbit is where the name "Prufrock" comes from. Apparently, it takes its name from a T.S. Elliot poem called The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Although I'd heard some of the lines from this poem before ("Do I dare to eat a peach?") I don't think I'd sat down and read the whole thing. It was an enjoyable experience, and I recommend it! In the poem, Mr. Prufrock frets about no one understanding him. "Do I dare disturb the universe?" he asks. This poem appealed to McIntosh, because he thought this experience of thinking no one understands you, that the universe is absurd ("I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me") is pretty common for gifted kids. It is. That's why Kurt Vonnegut is always such a favorite writer among adolescents who actually think. And so McIntosh's publishing house became Prufrock Press.


Anonymous said...

Your URL is bad. It should be

Anonymous said...

I disagree with "That's why Kurt Vonnegut is always such a favorite writer among adolescents who actually think." I read Vonnegut in high school, and found his writing rather juvenile. There were a number of much better writers in science fiction and fantasy. If you had argued for Ursula Le Guin, I might have agreed with you.

Anonymous said...

You'll want to change the name to the correct spelling: Eliot, not Elliot. I'm amazed that your high school or college didn't expose you to this poem. I memorized it in my tiny, poor rural HS in the '80s. It's never left me.