Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Wicked Apple

New review up in the EIL Blog of Escape Into Life, where I do something related to poetry every other Wednes-day. This is a mini-review of Susan Slaviero's chapbook, A Wicked Apple (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2011).

The fabulous art is by Chiarina Loggia, works called Enchanted and Here I Am, which get at the fairy tale twists and presence of reality in Slaviero's poems. Another work that ties in and features the red mirror is called Will You Look in the Mirror?

I tend to be fascinated by re-tellings of myth and fairy tale, even though people keep doing it. Like the originals, which got told and told, the newer versions still have a pull. I note that late-20th and early-21st-century versions keep warning against ingenue status, favoring the tougher woman with a bit of witch in her to survive. Or at least without as much passivity or gullibility.

Somehow this relates, ironically, to my career as an actress, so often playing the ingenue (or, if less than virginal, the saloon girl with a heart of gold, and shiny yellow dress, and fishnets). Anyhoo, just like lots of little girls hearing and reading fairy tales, I had yearned to be a beautiful princess but never was one in real life! My mom threw in "The Ugly Duckling" among the fairy tales, promising me I'd be all right when I grew up, and somehow getting across the swan-is-a-swan-not-a-duck message in just be-what-you-are ways, too, not about superficial beauty (though that was still what I wanted at the time). Then, growing up, aauugh: stringy hair, braces, pimples, pudginess, not the cover girl on Seventeen. No swan there. When I became an actress, the princessy roles came my way, and people who knew me then always assumed I'd been the blonde, blue-eyed pretty one all my life. Nope.

So when I look in the mirror, I don't know what the heck I'm seeing.

But Chiarina Loggia does!


Maureen said...

Enjoyed this! I need to order that chapbook.

Collagemama said...

This is fun! My little students are so into the entitled princess world. I don't know if they ever get the Ugly Duckling.

I listened to a father read aloud a picture book about a princess inventing pizza the other day. I wondered if the little girl had even heard the story of the princess and the pea.

My acting career was limited to one performance of Cinderella in a neighborhood kid-organized basement production. I got to be the evil stepmother, which was a whole lot of fun.

Love the red mirror images.

Cathy said...

I've got to get me one of those red lollypop mirrors.

I think you're awful cute. It must be fun, being an actress.