Thursday, April 29, 2010

Transformations by Anne Sexton

I have followed up The Bell Jar with a book of poetry of Anne Sexton, a poet whose work I find both disturbing and compelling.    I had read a post about this book on Stuff as Dreams are Made Of, and was intrigued enough to interlibrary loan this book and give it a try.    And then I posted something from it on Teaser Tuesday.    Now, I have finished it, and while I don't see adding this to my personal collection, I'm definitely glad that I read the post about it, and then read through it, myself.  

If you look on Goodreads, the description reads: "These poem-stories are a strange retelling of seventeen Grimms fairy tales, including "Snow White," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel," "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," "The Frog Prince," and "Red Riding Hood." Astonishingly, they are as wholly personal as Anne Sexton's most intimate poems. "Her metaphoric strength has never been greater -- really funny, among other things, a dark, dark laughter" (C.K. Williams). "

This is what I thought:   Strange, yes.  Darkly funny, yes.  Some of the poems I just read through quickly, butI lingered over others.   Snow White and Briar Rose were favorites, although I really like the teaser I posted, which came from Iron Hans.    I think some of these poems make more sense if the reader is familiar with Grimm's tales (if you are only familiar with the Disney versions of some of these, watch out!), but they really are a re-telling.   So, it's hard to know what to expect -- the best I can say is: read with an open mind and don't try to fit what Sexton writes into what you know of a story.    The drawings by Barbara Swan really add an interesting element to the poems, as well, especially for Rapunzel.   

If you are already a fan of Anne Sexton's poetry, I'd definitely recommend this book, especially because of the drawings in it.   If you're not familiar with Anne's work, I'm not sure if this is the best place to start, but it's definitely a great illustration of her intimate writing style.   And for the reader looking for re-tellings of fairy tales?  A great read.

 This book fulfills one of my challenges: Bart's Bookshelf - 2010 Reading Challenge - for category #4 (Bad Bloggers). 


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