“Once upon a time…”
Hence starts poet Lovelace in one of my new favorite books of poetry. The Princess Saves Herself In This One has been on my radar for months now, and I finally grabbed a copy from Hoopla.
It’s obviously a quick read, as is the nature of poetry books. I know some people like to read them a poem or section at a time, but I devour them, looking for the whole picture. In this collection, Lovelace has four sections: The Princess, The Damsel, The Queen, and You.
The Princess is what I take as an introduction to our poet, which goes into heartbreaking poems of her struggles with her the relationships with her mother, sisters, lovers, friends, and herself. The poems are emotional and powerful as she discusses her mother’s illness, her sister’s sudden death, and her body image through her own and other’s eyes. It easily draws the reader in, and though I haven’t experienced the trauma she had, I could feel my heart break for her.
The Damsel is about relationships past and present, illness, and death. Throughout the poems, the trend of titles leading the reader to realize that through those relationships, the most important thing the author learned was to love and mend herself, despite her struggles in some serious issues. There’s some sad, rough imagery in this section (though not exclusively this section) and despite that, Lovelace still portrays this strength and faith, even when she doesn’t feel it. She even addresses it, unclaiming the strength despite it’s visibility to others:
“I am sick to death of everyone telling me how strong I am. Me? Strong? I only act strong because it’s the only distraction I have…
-a feather disguised as steel.”
The Queen is where Lovelace describes herself rising from the ashes of her past and looking to the future. There are poems of her thoughts to her lost loved ones, to her those that did her wrong, to all she’s overcome, and then to the relationship she’s in. I have to say, I screenshot so many of the lines, because there were so many that I felt I could relate to in this section.
You is partly the author talking to herself about her poetry and words (I love how she talks about poetry through poetry!), partly open letters to a selection of people who have touched her life, and partly to women and children in today’s society. These are all words of encouragement and hope, and in a few instances, acknowledgement of struggle.
“I say to him, “We will always have our Octobers.”
-even when everything else fades”
Overall, I found this collection to be beautiful, moving, emotional, powerful, and about a million other wonderful adjectives. I will definitely be adding The Princess Saves Herself In This One to my poetry collection to reread when I need a encouragement boost and reminder that I can slay my own dragons, too.