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Three Bloody Words: Twentieth Anniversary Edition, the Princess Iconic Image in Feminist Truthtelling.


Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Three Bloody Words: Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Author: Stephanie Bolster

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2016

Pages: 26


“I could've been a Princess, You'd be a King
Could've had a castle, and worn a ring
But no, you let me go”
- from Princess of China by ColdPlay and Rihanna

Three Bloody Words, a Chapbook written by Stephanie Bolster was originally published through above/ground press in May 1996. A feminist play on fairytales and the overconstructed N.A. society, the two juxtapositions entangle into a dark satanist truthtelling. Stephanie Bolster is a Poet/Teacher/Poetry Editor from Vancouver and teaches creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal. She has written four books of poetry and her first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems won the Governor General’s and the Gerald Lampert Awards. She has been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award and the Canada Writes/CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. She has written two Chapbooks, published by above/ground press and this republication.

A parody of Disney princesses, the poetry based in the feminine magic of fairytales blows into a horror story, closer to the N.A. reality of love and life. Images from some of the most popular fairytales, Alice in Wonderland, Rapunzel, Rose Red, Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel amongst others, are alluded to and woven into a modern day rendering.

“i can’t tell you what happened
                                                    at the tea-party except it was nothing like disneyland no
mad swirling in marvellous candy-coloured cups so fast i thought i’d puke or go sailing off
into a tyrannical sunset instead we sipped & they talked on & on under & around saying
everything except what they really meant which wasn’t much anyway only something
about freud & the loss of innocence at parties where the tea’s not sweet enough & the
sugarcubes are spiked with LSD & i’m still there watching golden strands sink into the tea their voices saying this isn’t really my story at all”

Prose poetry in first person narrative form as if in the voice of a modern day princess, mixed with the occasional free verse poem in truncated thought flow brings the reader right in close to the brutality of intimate relationships N.A. The ideal backdrop of fairytales is written in as allusions and then meted out, as if “the princess” iconic image has been run over with a car.

“in my story I didn’t even know what happened
                                                                              it was already written before i came
along so i just put one foot in front of the other because there was nothing else it was the
same for all my friends i had two sisters i think maybe three one of my parents was mean i
forget which somebody combed my silken hair made me pretty dresses married me to
some prince or else an animal who turned into one had a couple of kids because it was
written otherwise i would never bring anyone into this story the whole time they were
being born those three bloody words running thru my head happily ever after”

A truthtelling that reveals the gruesome undertoad of life N.A. As if there are no choices for women in who you marry, how men expect sex without responsibility, how your husband may desert you after years together, exploding the myths of “happily ever after”. A portrayal of the “sex wars” how men are like aliens that don’t really understand the emotional pain/sensitivity of women as “they want what they want” and destroy the peace and safety of women through violations of suitability for marriage and the destruction of covenant.

“so i thought i’d escape
                                       by hitching a lift out of the forest with grizzled man in a
pickup my hair still tangled from last night two wolf scratches on my cheek we sped along
99 out of the mountains into something like reality a map distances you could plot & see
what was coming only occasional trees but his arm came up around me voice saying my
eyes so big & beautiful lips so soft what long hair you have & i knew it was the some old
story”

A humorous look at the modern day patriarchy through abuses of power in personal relationships, giving the “princess” ideal of historical romance a shakeout. How politics and essence problems in marriage manifests suffering for women. A brilliant post-modernist Feminist work, Three Bloody Words by Stephanie Bolster.

Available @ above/ground press.

Genre: Poetry, New Age, Feminist Literature, Women's Literature





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