Title: the princess saves herself in this one
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Time taken to read: 2 days
Goodreads synopsis: a poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.
Though I have yet to publish a book, I think I’ve studied YA enough that my editorial opinions are trustworthy. However, this is not true for poetry. I like grammar because grammar has rules, and those rules make sense, and you can break the rules but only if you know them well enough to be able to break them in the right way (so, following a different set of rules, basically). Grammar and poetry do not mix as well as grammar and fiction, and so poetry doesn’t make sense to me. There must be rules for poetry, but I don’t know them. I mean, I know the rules for poems like villanelles, but free-form poetry must have rules too that I have yet to study. So going into this collection, I decided not to try to judge it by any rules but to judge it by how it made me feel and to listen to my gut.
My gut is confused. I don’t disagree with anything said in this collection. I can relate to a lot of the pain and sadness, and I believe that I have felt many things that Amanda Lovelace has felt. And I have expressed those things in a very similar way, and that’s unsettling to me. I don’t like the poetry I’ve written, and hers sounds a lot like mine, especially so I suppose because of the similar subject matter.
The beginning of the collection is very personal and a little uncomfortable for me. It freaks me out a little bit to read descriptions of self-harm, honestly, poetic or otherwise. I think the fairy tale theme is a little worn out, but I love princesses, so I was mostly okay with it. I thought the end was sort of strange. She starts making a lot of political commentary, and it’s all things that I agree with for sure, but it felt really out of place, almost forced, like she just wanted liberal points. Again, I don’t disagree with her statements, but it just didn’t feel right. The biggest criticism I saw on Goodreads was that her poems are just broken up sentences, and apparently that’s not what poetry is. Like I said, I don’t really get poetry, so maybe that’s not what it is, or maybe, like Lovelace says, poetry is whatever you want it to be. Maybe that’s true for self-published poetry, but I sort of agree that her lines seemed to lack effort.
My favorite poem in the collection was the one addressed to her sister (I believe), where she talks about her sister being in the company of perhaps their favorite deceased female authors. The poem after that is a good one too, which talks about body image things, as do quite a few of the poems. I’m not surprised that this collection is self-published. It seems like a thing that she made for herself, like it’s just an outlet for her emotions. I do plan to start reading more poetry, so hopefully I find something a little better.