REVIEW: Poetry in Starward Tales II

Review of poetry in Starward Tales II, edited by CB Droege (Manawaker Studio, 2017). — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I decided to tackle all the poetry in the anthology in one go because poetry can be wicked hard to review and it made sense, in the context of a themed anthology like this, to discuss all the poems together.

“Penelope Longing for Odysseus” by Vonnie Winslow Crist (p. 141)

One of the hallmarks of a classic story is that it transcends both time and genre. In this poem, Crist has transposed the story of Odysseus to far into the future, with Penelope waiting at home for her space-ship captain to return. Whether told in epic poetry and set in ancient Greece, or told in short blank verse form and set far in the future, the story of Penelope’s patience, love, and dissatisfaction with her wandering husband remains a powerful one. (The poem also reads aloud nicely, and rated an “It was good” from my 6 year old.)

“Chained” by Vonnie Winslow Crist (p. 39)

Like Crist’s other poem in the anthology, this one also draws upon a foundation of Greek myth, but it is not a straightforward retelling of a known tale. Instead, Crist uses the familiar elements of mythology to couch an unfamiliar future, when humanity has been awoken from cryo-state on a foreign planet. Will we find ourselves in the underworld, in purgatory, or in paradise?

“Girl in the Red Hood” by Richard King Perkins II (p. 97)

The inspiring story for this poem is obvious from the title. The first four stanzas follow the traditional story for the most part, with embellishments and details that make it a distinctive and not generic re-telling. The final stanza is where the dramatic climax is reached; unfortunately, there was not quite enough in it for me to understand the import of the ending. It wasn’t clear who the narrator of the poem was, nor what memories it was that the girl in the red hood forgot before the wolf devoured her.

“Icarus” by María Castro Domínguez (p. 117)

(Note that the table of contents puts this poem on p. 115).

The story of Icarus is one of my favorites, so I was immediately drawn to this poem from its title. The poem did not disappoint — Castro Domínguez paints some vivid pictures with her words — but I am not sure what connects the story of the poem to the story of Icarus.

“Beauty, Sleeping” by Marsheila Rockwell (p. 173)

This brief (10-line) poem takes the story of sleeping beauty and turns it upside down — what happens if when the prince comes to wake the princess instead of giving her his animative power, he takes hers instead?