Reviewed by Abigail Fellin
the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace is a collection of poetry that seems to embody the new contemporary poetry flooding social media.This collection is separated into four sections: the princess, the damsel, the queen, you. Each section walks through a different idea on family, relationships, grieving, and healing.
The idea of this collection speaks to me. I love the idea of twisting classic fairy tales into something more feminist where there is no need for a knight in shining armor to save the girl who can’t defend herself. However, while pieces of this collection were great, overall it fell short for me.
Lovelace does a few great things with this book. She puts a trigger warning at the beginning to warn readers of sensitive topics her poems touch on. Since some of the subject touches on harder topics—such as self harm, abuse, sexual assault, and suicide—this is a great idea. While some of the items on the list may not be needed, the overall sentiment is considerate.
Lovelace also plays with formatting. Some of her poetry resembles Facebook status updates and dictionary definitions, while others play with white spaces to achieve different effects. Personally, this is something I love seeing poets do. One of the reasons poetry is so great is the ability to play with format and spacing on a page to add more depth and dimension to poems.
Some of the poems are fabulously written, with exquisite details, and neat connections to other poems. However, a majority of the collection felt less like poetry and more like someone’s diary that was cut up, rearranged, and pasted together with line breaks. While this can be done really well with the right subject matter and powerful word usage, the princess saves herself in this one did not meet that mark. It felt too personal with not enough details to allow me to connect to the characters (typically the speaker). Also, the last section felt like collection of life advice that someone might print out and hang up on a motivational board, not a poem with a message.
To me, this collection wasn’t the type of poetry I was looking for. It left me craving more stories, less diary entries, more depth that I have to decipher, and less stanzas that walk readers through the poem’s messages. Lovelace’s style just didn’t do it for me. However, poetry has no set definition. People dismissed Emily Dickinson’s style because it didn’t tickle their poetry fancy. However, it’s still poetry, and different people like different things. I would recommend to give the princess saves herself in this one a chance whether you are a long time lover of poetry or have never read a book of poetry in your life. Even if the style doesn’t fit in with your preference on poetry, it still contains some great messages and it might make you reconsider what you think you know about poetr