Friday, September 7, 2012 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Snow White's Acne

This morning, I woke up, read a couple blog posts by friends, and then realized that I also have a blog and could probably post something.  After waffling about what I could possibly write about, I realized that it's Friday.  [and don't you dare start singing that Rebecca Black song...oh wait, it's already in my head]  And Friday means...

Poetry Friday!!!

Since I haven't done a Poetry Friday in approximately forever, it's going to be a bit interesting to see how I can get back into it.  I'd like to get back to blogging daily as well, but you know...some things aren't going to happen, especially when I have this really pretty journal that I can hand write in.  And you know how much I like hand writing things.  [I'll give you a hint, I actually prefer it...]

So today I read a poem by Denise Duhamel, mostly because I forgot to read something by her when she came to visit at my university and also because I was looking for something by her that I was really interested in.  Duhamel writes a lot of modern stuff including (but not limited to) a number of poems about Barbie, chronicled in her book Kinky.  Though I haven't read all of Kinky, I read the bits that were found in her collections Queen for a Day.  But today isn't about Barbie.  Today's about Snow White, which I thought was rather fitting.  Today I read "Snow White's Acne" which sounds like an off-putting title.  Although not really for me because I love fairy tale poems, and I especially enjoy fairy tale poems that take the fairy tales and twist them up for the reader so the story's a little less pure than you originally thought it was.  Because let's face it, some of these princesses really need to be taken down a peg.  Or four.

First off let's talk a little bit about the title.  It has the word "acne" in it.  How many people actually find the word "acne" appealing?  I can tell you right now that there isn't a very large number of people who enjoy the word "acne" or the feelings that the word "acne" inspires in their pores.  Although my pores are currently rejoicing at the mere mention of acne because they're creating enough to rival Snow White's adolescence in this poem.  Anyway, when you think of Snow White, you immediately finish up her title with "and the seven dwarfs," so you're set up with one set of expectations, yet this title gives you a different answer.  Acne.  What could be less dwarf-like than acne?  Well, you could probably argue that acne is kinda like dwarfs in some ways, but I'm not going to go there right now.  A twist of expectations in this way makes things interesting.

Now about those comparisons.  And/or descriptions.  "Dried strawberry juice"..."like a tapeworm curled up"..."multiplying like pins in a pin cushion."  And on and on.  They're very vivid descriptions that we've got here, and they all seem very concrete, comparing or using descriptions that are rooted in real world things like juice or tapeworms or pins.  I think this makes the descriptions of the acne even more grotesque, and that definitely brings Snow White down a couple notches.

And at this point I have lost steam with my poetry "analysis," so I'm going to stop for now...if I think of other things...I'll come back.  Yeah...

Another good Snow White poem is Anne Sexton's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

"The Queen remained the fairest in the land.
It was hard on Snow, having such a glamorous mom.
She rebelled by wearing torn shawls and baggy gowns."
- Denise Duhamel, 'Snow White's Acne'


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