Fairy Tales for Writers
by Lawrence Schimel
Published by A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel
I absolutely love to see fairy tales of old develop new twists in the hands of new writers, I love to see these familiar stories re-invented and re-imagined so they can shine in a new light. Thus, when I got this title for review, I was very much excited about it.
The collection itself is a cute little booklet. It fits comfortably in one palm and is about 30 pages long.
However, despite my wanting to like, even love, this book, Fairy Tales for Writers did not fulfill my expectations. True, the frameworks of such Grimm classics as “Snow White” or Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” are used and their plots cleverly twisted around the individual experience of writers, but that is all; the poems do not venture beyond their new settings in the world of writers, editors, and publishers. Another thing that — for me at least — was lacking is a distinct speculative element. These poems are not about magic and transformation as I had expected, rather about the magical experience of writing (and yes, the pitfalls writers might run into).
Furthermore, the language here is rather like what I would expect in solid prose, not so much like the kind of thing that I want to see in a poem, although every now and then there was a line that was a little more colorful than the rest, a metaphor that managed to capture my imagination.
All in all, if you are looking for magic and for a remaking of old myths, Fairy Tales for Writers is not what you want, but then again, if you are a writer just looking for some like-mindedness, this is definitely the book for you to buy.