Review: Transformations

TransformationsAnne Sexton, Transformations

This book is a collection of poetry, and I don’t really know how to review it, or even whether “reviewing” is appropriate for something that is supposed to strike you in a fundamental, visceral way. The poems are all re-imaginings of fairy tales as told by the Brothers Grimm, and Sexton uses the old stories to shed light on modern themes and concerns. For example, here’s the end of “Cinderella”:

Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins.
That story.

The stories are all set in that quasi-medieval fairytale past, which is interestingly juxtaposed with some very modern language. When the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” is cooked in the oven, “Her blood began to boil up / like Coca-Cola.” When the prince in “Cinderella” tries the glass slipper on every maiden in the kingdom, the narrator observes, “The prince was getting tired. / He began to feel like a shoe salesman.”

All in all, this collection didn’t make a huge impact on me, but I would recommend it to people who like poetry and fairy tales. I’d definitely like to read more of Anne Sexton’s work!

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7 thoughts on “Review: Transformations

  1. Katherine Nabity says:

    Yeah, my reviews of poetry are pretty much, “I like this. A lot.” (Which does explain some of the grades I received in certain English classes…) I’m catching up with OUaT reviews and this is the second post about fairy tale poetry, which I find to be a delightful surprise.

    • Christina says:

      Haha, I can relate! I was better at analyzing poetry when I had to do it for class, because the professors forced me to think about every little detail. Now it’s really easy to read poems in huge gulps rather than the discerning sips they probably require.

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