An Anthology Release

Arterial BloomMy Snow White retelling “Rotten” is included in the Crystal Lake anthology Arterial Bloom was released a little early by Crystal Lake Publishing. This gorgeous book was edited by Bram Stoker award-winning author Mercedes M. Murdock. Kev Harrison, a reviewer at This Is Horror, penned a glowing review: “‘Rotten,’ by Carina Bissett borrows themes and motifs from a variety of well-known fairy tales, then knits them together into a beautiful tale of abuse and redemption. The descriptive language here is so stark, so stylised that it leaves a strong impression on the reader after the last page is turned.”

Snow White is one of those problematic fairy tales that I’ve explored more than once. Since April is National Poetry Month, it only seems right to share it here. My poem “Reflections” tackles this fairy tale from the stepmother’s point-of-view. This was originally published by Timeless Tales in the anthology Snow White: Issue 10, which features eleven Snow White retellings.

Reflections

Dining alone is an indulgence,
most women deny. They don’t
know the trick to it; the best
seat in the house is at
the center of the bar,

Snow Whitea high throne where one
can watch others watch one
in wall-length mirrors backed
by bottles filled with tonics
that decant our beauty.

Arms cradle roses red:
tiny white snowdrops
press against hooked thorns,
waxy leaves and crooked limbs
bound with dark ribbon.

I smile anyway,
reach for another martini,
like I don’t know already.
Gin bruised, ice cold, dry,
he tells me I’m beautiful.

This tale is a familiar one,
a preservative. The sword
is swift, again, he switches
from the recitation of his
portfolio to his daughter,

shy, in need of guidance.
Where is her mother,
I ask, but I know the answer.
The girl’s mother ran away
with a younger man.

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Vredenburg, Eric, editor. My Book of Favourite Fairy Tales. Jennie Harbour, illustrator. London: Raphael Tuck & Sons, 1921.

I’ve heard it over and over
again. The tale is familiar.
Daughters driving desperate
mothers away, not a pretty
story, the roses are deepening

to a dusky pink tinged with

darkest reds. I should meet her,
I say. Beauty banks on it.
My hand seduces. Smiles
are scimitars. Hair cloaks

bare shoulders like ravens
blackening. The look he gave
me I’ve known forever.
She won’t like you, he said,
you are her mother.

I am nothing like her mother,
I say, a lie of the darkest type.
Not only am I the girl’s mother,
I am also the girl.
It’s time we had a heart to heart.

“Reflections” by Carina Bissett. Copyright © 2018. Originally published in Snow White: Issue #10.

In other news, my popular generative writing workshop is open for registration. Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth starts back up in June.  I will also be opening stand-alone, self-paced modules. This first one will be out this month. It will be based on (you guessed it) Snow White. Best of all, this first self-paced module will be #free. Stay tuned!

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Craik, Dinah Maria Mulock. The Fairy Book. Warwick Goble, illustrator. London: Macmillan & Co., 1913.