Writing a poetry review feels somewhat out of my comfort zone. From time to time, though, I really crave some verse. So with this post, I’m going to test the waters and do my first poetry review. Amanda Lovelace’s collection feels like a good start, especially since it is embedded in fairy tale tropes.
the princess saves herself in this one is a poetry collection dealing with quite heavy subject matter, including death, suicide, child abuse, bullying and cancer. The collection is divided into four parts: “the princess”, “the damsel”, “the queen” and “you”.
Some poems in this book really struck me- for different reasons. Sometimes, I found myself reading lines over and over again and I really wanted to cherish them and have them imprinted somewhere in my mind. Yet, other poems did not speak to me at all and I suddenly found myself rushing down the page, in a haste to turn to the next one.
I was disappointed by the simplicity of this book. I believe that simple language is at the core of her writing, yet while it worked fantastically for some poems, it did not do much for others. There was sometimes a certain imbalance between the heaviness of the subject matter and the poetics used to express it. Also, even though the collection uses fairy tale figures- such as the princess and the damsel- I expected more nuanced fairy tale tropes. After reading certain poems, I was still searching for the fairy tale motif to seep through- in that sense, the fairy tale title of the collection might promise a bit more than can be found inside.
Nonetheless, some poems stood out because of their simplicity. I especially like the first poems in the “princess” category. In these poems, the fairy tale references came out the strongest and I liked the way Lovelace adapted them to her life experiences. Not many, but some of the significant tropes stretch through the entire collection and come back later in the book, making it one coherent piece.
I was also positively suprised by the pace of this collection. Unlike other poetry, I read it in one sitting and when I turned the last page, I really had the impression that I read a fairy tale. But there is no magic- it is realistic, plain and empowering for women and girls who are not blessed with a fairy godmother to get through hard times and yet, who manage to slay the dragons life presents them with.
Here is one of the poems that stayed with me for its plain language but resonating sweetness:
“if he was
my cup of tea,
then you are
my cup of coffee.
for me sometimes,
can get me
-did i make you up?”