One of the highlights of the month (for the past three months) has been getting the Feminist Book Club Subscription Box! For the month of July there was a theme of poetry and Fierce FairyTales was the book chosen for the box. This book is by Nikita Gill, a writer and poet who has become pretty popular online with her thought-inducing posts about fairy tales, mythology, and how it all relates to what it means to be human.
I thoroughly enjoyed her work in Fierce FairyTales! I don’t normally read poetry so it was a breath of fresh air to slow down a bit and experience these poems that encapsulated an idea about a particular fairy tale. Each one took one character or idea from a fairy tale and flipped it in order to show how messed up each story truly is.
Take Rapunzel, she’s trapped by her mother in a tower in a completely toxic relationship and she has to wait for a prince to come and save her. To top it all, the only way he can get to her is to climb on her hair. Gill tells a story where perhaps, Rapunzel cuts her own hair and uses it to get down!
Growing up I saw these fairy tales as ideals, the princess waits in her castle/tower/cell for a prince to come and save her and then they marry and they are happily ever after. The princess doesn’t really need to think or accomplish anything except wait and go with the prince who comes save her. Of course that’s not true, but it definitely left me with some subconscious feelings about feeling shame about being an independent and strong woman.
Another cool thing about this book is that Gill illustrates it too. She has beautiful drawings with some of the poems that really helped me add that other dimension to the poem. Some of the poems were very uplifting and inspiring while others are heartbreaking and just touched those tender bits in my heart. One such poem was The Giant’s Daughter, which I will share here so you can have a sample of what to expect if you choose to read this wonderful book:
The Giant’s Daughter
Teaching yourself to take up space
is like trying to love someone
who is violently resisting your love.
It is walking into a room
and trying not to make yourself scarce.
It is to be mindful of your own shrinking.
It is to become comfortable with
being uncomfortably aware that you,
like Houdini, have mastered the art
of escaping whilst being watched.
It is learning how not to do itFierce FairyTales by Nikita Gill, pg. 119
even when every bone in your body
has been taught to go into hiding.
Do you enjoy poetry? Even if you don’t read it much, like me, if you like fairy tales and re-tellings, definitely check this out!