Marschak's background in performance theater made it easy to move into poetry busking, producing personalized verse on demand to customers. As you explain your hobbies, interests and quirks, she notes them on a small blackboard and then uses those cues to craft a personal poem.
Poets from all over the world were considered by the holly jolly selection committee, but Santa had only his favorite candidates flown by reindeer-drawn sleigh to his magical winter wonderland at the top of the world, she explains. And that included Marschak.
The first thing she did at the North Pole was meet the holiday workforce. “The elves are the happiest people,” she notes. “Also, they skip when they walk! It’s just so happy there."
Marschak was happy to join the crew after after Santa gave her the job. “Mrs. Claus made us a wonderful dinner to celebrate,” she recalls. “It was mostly desserts.”
Standing in a Christmas display by the front entrance, Marschak chatted with everyone coming in and out of the shop, playing with the dogs as their tails thumped against her skirt. “Would you like a poem about your pet from Santa’s official poet?” she asked a grinning pet owner, scratching behind the ears of a rambunctious goldendoodle.
Writing poetry for pets is just like creating improv poetry for two-legged subjects. Marschak would ask owners what made their pets special — she’s playful, she’s sweet, she likes to cuddle, she loves to chew — and then conclude with one more question: Do you prefer your poetry modern, or with a Shakespearean feel?
Virtually everyone and their dog wants Shakespeare, and Marschak is happy to oblige.
She just wants to help you find a poem that speaks to you. "So many times we forget it's a tool, that it's an art form we have in our society, in our culture and all over the world," Marschak concludes. "As Santa's official poet, the North Pole Poet Laureate, it's my job to do that on Santa's behalf."