Author: Amanda Lovelace
Published: April 23, 2016
Source: eARC via Netgalley for review
"Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we're off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales."
A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.
The Princess Saves Herself in this One has a snappy title and an interesting summary, which is causing it to make some real ripples in the poetry and YA communities.
Unfortunately, it's bad.
Lovelace's idea to divide her poems into chapters of "princess", "damsel", and "queen" doesn't work when all three sections are full of co-dependent tripe. Nothing separates the three, not style nor theme nor empowerment. The change of her mother from villain to victim between "princess" and "damsel" is particularly jarring, but the author had no thoughts about that juxtaposition? That would be an interesting poem to read. The largest problem with these sections is I don't see any saving herself in the writing, only reductive moral lessons at the end of endless love poems.
Most poems in the volume end with an italicized sentence summarizing the message of the work. The style and formatting doesn't add anything to the poems; frankly removing critical thinking from the reader destroys any chance for meaningful conversation about the poetry. Some of them, like the one about her sisters, (none of the poems are titled,) read like a parody of ee cummings with faux-meaningful orthography. Love poems in the shape of a heart belong in a 101 creative writing class, not a published volume.
The volume is accessible, which has probably lead to its surge in popularity, but it's sophomoric in theme and execution. The tigress poem is literally a reworded Facebook meme. Obviously it speaks to people, but poetry is not 48 pt Impact font.
(For the geeky, feminist poetry book you're actually searching for, may I recommend Brenna Twohy's Forgive Me My Salt, Christine Heppermann's Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty, or Nikita Gill's Your Soul is a River?)