RDC Instructor Joan Crate examines what lies beyond “happily ever after” in her latest book of poetry

There’s something about weddings that make even commonsensical women gush about finding a “princess” dress and walking up the aisle with their “knight in shining armor,” said author Joan Crate.

Joan Crate

There’s something about weddings that make even commonsensical women gush about finding a “princess” dress and walking up the aisle with their “knight in shining armor,” said author Joan Crate.

Otherwise, how can one explain the glut of popular reality TV shows that tease viewers with the promise of happily-ever-after, such as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, A Wedding Story, Say Yes to the Dress, and others?

“You would, absolutely, think that women would be beyond that right now,” said Crate, referring to the women’s movement that tried to liberate females from the idea they can be saved though marriage.

But the Red Deer College English instructor believes the more women have had to slog it out in the real world as single moms and working drones, the more there’s been a “backlash.”

And the modern form of escapism seems to be the same as the very earliest form; dreaming of a fairy-tale wedding.

Crate riffs on the marriage mythology in her latest book of poetry, subUrban Legends. She examines what lies beyond the youthful promise of “happily every after” with the help of iconic fairy-tale character, Snow White, who makes frequent appearances in Crate’s poems to learn a thing or two about the non-storybook world.

Through the course of Crate’s book, published by Calgary’s Freehand Books, the princess discovers there’s no such thing as permanent happiness in her marriage to Prince Charming. But she also finds it’s no picnic moving out of the castle.

In Snow White Finds Herself, the heroine discovers leaving her marriage doesn’t make her blissful: “Sure, her apartment is free of her husband’s heavy footfalls, but it feels empty, the toilet won’t stop running, and already there’s a stain on the floor.” Crate wanted to puncture the myth that women are much better off leaving dissatisfying marriages and fending for themselves.

For one thing, studies have shown divorced females, especially single mothers, suffer a significant income drop.

Prince Charming, or perhaps Snow White’s absent father, is skewered in the It’s the Same Old Story, about inconstant men “abandoning kingdoms, family commitments,” skipping child-support payments, and leaving behind wounded progeny.

In the poem Mangoes, the fairy-tale princess sums up everything she ever learned from apples: “skin wrinkles, looks can be deceiving, expect the bitter with the sweet, and always watch out for worms.”

But Crate believes Snow White’s greatest lesson is learning to cook with scraps, or making something out of the hand she is dealt.

Winter is the other inspiration behind Crate’s third book of poetry. The author, who spends half the week living in Calgary, where her husband now works, said she wiped out on a sheet of sidewalk ice — “It was one of those falls where my feet were above my head and I went down hard” — and had plenty of time, during recuperation, to let her imagination wander about living in a cold country.

“There’s always so much snow…”

Crate’s subUrban Legends, a collection of 64 poems, is available at SunWorks in Red Deer for $16.95.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Canada ranks 16th on World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap list

TORONTO — Canada has landed the 16th spot in the World Economic… Continue reading

Steel, aluminum tariffs impacting one-third of Canadian exporters: poll

OTTAWA — More than one-third of Canadian exporters say they have been… Continue reading

Canada has fifth biggest AI workforce, but still lacks diversity: study

TORONTO — Canada has the globe’s fifth largest artificial intelligence workforce, but… Continue reading

Air passenger rights: Six things about what the Liberals are offering in draft rules

OTTAWA — The Liberals will publish the draft text of their long-promised… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Most Read