'The plight of the true Snow White' by Alexandra Parapadakis is Write Out Loud Poem of the Week
‘The plight of the true Snow White’ by Alexandra Parapadakis, a poem that questions and upends assumptions behind the traditional and Disneyfied fairy tale, is the new Write Out Loud Poem of the Week. The poem refers to the "7 notches on my bed post, the 7 men in my life", and concludes: "It seems we all went wild / yet became completely sane". In her answers to our questions Alexandra reveals that her poetic style has developed from strict rhyme to “a far less rigid structure”; that she has performed as a slam poet; and that she tends to “create and write about eccentric protagonists”.
Is poetry an important part of your life and can you remember when and why it became so?
Writing has always been an important part of my life, poetry in particular. My avid passion for it revealed itself when I was 11, when I had witnessed an event that shook me with anger. I could find no way to express my outrage and struggled in finding an outlet, a way of channelling this upset into something that would actually matter. Until I picked up my pen. Poetry for me is about expressing social, personal, and political opinions in an art form and thus encouraging change.
If you could only have one poet’s work to read (desert island book) which one would you choose and why?
I would have to choose Browning because I can never get tired of unpicking his work and finding endless hidden messages. He truly becomes the characters he has created when he writes. Each one of his protagonists has such a strong persona and witty personality, for example in ‘The Laboratory’ and ‘My Last Duchess’. I also think his political allegories are so intelligent, as in ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’.
How do you think your poetry style has changed since you started writing?
It has changed a lot! When I began I often wrote in rhyme, particularly an AB rhyming scheme, and I let this structure lead my work. But of course rhyming should not be the focus of a piece. And I actually found that I was limiting my voice or causing my work to be tenuous and less concise by constantly replacing the precise expression with another word that would rhyme. Now my style is a lot more relaxed, with a far less rigid structure, because I don’t want to limit how I express myself.
Do you perform your work and if so, what advice would you give to other young poets like yourself just starting out?
I have performed my work as slam poetry in the final of the Poetry Rivals competition twice but I don’t perform my work often. That is something I would really like to get into. I think making sure that you have a clear and loud voice is of course important in terms of allowing the audience to understand you easily, and it also helps in making you appear confident. But the biggest thing for me was knowing my poem well so that I did not have to focus on reading it, consequently I could direct my attention to communicating with the audience, through my vocal expression and tone of voice.
What inspires you most when gathering material for new poetry?
I am inspired most by societal issues around me that I can relate to. I am influenced by issues regarding feminism, family, relationships, sexuality, class, race and gender. All of which feed into each other. I hold ardent views towards these topics, being a strong believer in equality, and my degree involves a lot of sociology, which influences my writing. I love literature and read a lot, which fascinates me and inspires me through unique and interesting characters, I therefore tend to create and write about eccentric protagonists.
THE PLIGHT OF THE TRUE SNOW WHITE
by Alexandra Parapadakis
Her lips were red apples,
“Don’t trust lust!”
They called her a hag
Told me she had driven me mad!
“Kiss me” she said
And then I dropped dead
Because I realised my story was wrong,
Erased the ending they taught belonged
And then all I had to do was admit!
Write into the story and say:
actually everyone I am g-
“She’s sick, she’s just sick!”
“She needs a doctor, a cure!”
“She can’t be conscious, she must be in a dream!”
“Stop her or she won’t go to heaven!”
“How is this happening, she’s not had one man but seven!”
Indeed, no matter the 7 notches on my bed post, the 7 men in my life
Something, something just wasn’t right
But no matter my voice, I was written into the pages as asleep – early till late
Whilst the patriarchy around me decided my fate.
“All she needs is just one perfect heterosexual kiss,
A kiss, yes a kiss, from a royal dick!”
And so the prince came on his horse to elevate me from being this whore
And without knowing his name or his persona I was to be apparently cured,
Destined to love what I should: holy matrimony and motherhood
But on seeing me the prince grimaced and guffawed
It is said he ran off with a dwarf!
No one returned to the castle!
No one took the reign!
It seems we all went wild
Yet became completely sane.
No one restricted, no consensus to stoop or to bend!
That was my real story, that was ‘The End’.