Am so grateful to Poetry Ireland for including my poem ‘Cinderella Backwards’ in their Poetry Day Poems on the DART campaign and what company I am in!
DART commuters can enjoy great Poetry Surprises-themed poems on poetry posters across the DART fleet for two weeks from 23 April 2018, thanks to the generous support of Iarnród Éireann. If you’ve already spotted one, read more about it in our handy guide here by editor and broadcaster Niall MacMonagle.
‘Here is a poem that tells a wonderfully happy-ever-after story backwards. And in this instance it’s heading in the wrong direction, it’s a journey towards unhappiness. Both John Glenday and Angela Carter, who are acknowledged here, have interrogated the fairytale and Glenday’s poem ‘A Fairy Tale’ reverses the tale of the Princess happily- ever-after waltzing through imagined ballrooms and he returns her to illness and waltzing the laundry. Clare Dyer’s Cinderella story poem also brings us back through familiar scenarios. The opening stanza paints a picture of a man not going down on one knee to place a glass slipper on the perfect foot. The very opposite occurs and the reader’s expectations are unsettled. That the sequence is all wrong is evident in the many ‘uns’ throughout: ‘unbends’, ‘uncurls’, ‘unprinted’, ‘unplanned’, ‘unchime’, ‘unsearch’, ‘untunes’. This reversed love story is, step-by-step, the story of lost happiness, lost possibility, a lost future, until we are left with a Prince somewhere/ who unbelieves in love again’. The dream is shattered and ‘unbelieves’ becomes the loneliest word in the poem. The Prince no longer dreams of meeting his Princess. Not to believe in love and its potential is a dark and bleak way of viewing the world. When Cinderella is back in the kitchen sweeping the floor and sweeping a fairytale’s opening words ‘back in through the door’ we are down to earth. The often-heard words Once Upon A Time contains a magical and happy future but Dyer in a wonderfully inventive word tells us that, just as Cinderella’s dress ‘re-rags’, everything is dull normal again. We can dream, can’t we? But they won’t always come true. And Dyer here suggests that even if they do, they can unravel.’
I was delighted to be the poet chosen to record the poem for Reading for National Poetry Day 2016 and this is the result:
I love being part of Radio Reads with Bill Buckley on BBC Radio Berkshire!
Our book for April is ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. You can hear our review of last month’s book & our new recommendations HERE from 1 hour 8 mins in.
My co-Radio Reads chum, David Barker, has listed all our recent books on his blog here.
It was wonderful being part of the judging team for this year’s awards but it was especially fab being part of this:
- Bath Writers & Artists Group, 24th March & 19th May 2018
- La Liberté d’Expression, Henley, 22nd April 2018
- Wokingham Library, 27th April
- Henley Arts Trail, 6th May 2018
- Waterstones, Reading, 24th May: An evening with Amanda Jennings & Claire Dyer – details HERE
- Swindon Poetry Festival, 7th October 2018
- Loose Muse, Winchester, 12th November 2018
- Launch of Reading University Creative Arts Anthology, 19th March 2018
- Poetry in Aldeburgh: 5th November 2016
- Reading Literature Festival: 13th November 2016
- Loose Muse, Winchester: 14th November 2016
- Words and Ears: 24th November 2016
- Loose Muse, London: 11th January 2017
- Albion Beatnik, Oxford: 30th March 2017
- Coffee House Poetry at The Troubadour, London: 15th May 2017
- Write Angle, Petersfield: 15th August 2017
Forthcoming Judging, Editorials & Reviews
Recent Judging, Editorials & Reviews
- SWWJ – more details here
- Celebration, Friends of The Royal Marsden
- Slough Writers
- Koestler Awards 2017 Anthology Category
- The High Window
- South 52
- The Fat Damsel
- Koestler Awards 2016 Short Story & Flash Fiction
- Paragram Poetry Prize
- Berkshire Music & Arts