Cover Image: Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I wasn't familiar with the original fairytale so I started with that first, but I liked the approach of Andrea Blythe, how each princess would continue in her own way after the fairytale is over. This is something that's always missing and I prefer to know what comes after the marriage.

Out of all the sisters' stories, there was just one that I felt very disappointed with and that was the eleventh sister. I really needed an answer there and I didn't get it. Other than that, there's variety and personality behind each person and that's how reality works. What I found strange was the total disconnect between the sisters and the fact that they didn't have anything to each other.

The collection was short and a fast read.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great book of poems ideal for any poetry lovers and I look forward to reading it again very soon!
Was this review helpful?
I don't know why it took me so long to read this, it was full of mystery, intrigue and feminist power. I especially loved the story of the third sister, but I work in a library so are we surprised. Each sister had power in her choice and it was so interesting to see what would happen after the fairy tale. To become thieves or adventurers, the world became full of potential.
Was this review helpful?
This lovely poem cycle doesn't tread lightly in its exploration of Grimm's The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a story that rewards an old soldier with a girl of his choosing for solving a mystery. The mystery? Where do these princesses go at night, out of sight of their royal minders? What happens when that escape is taken away? What happens when there is no more dancing? Short, lyrical, biting, and poignant, lovers of fairy tale poetry will find much to like.
Was this review helpful?
Lovely lyrical poems about the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. I've always loved this story and really enjoyed reading these poems about each of the sisters. These prose poems bring fairy tales to the modern world in an artful, elegant way.
Was this review helpful?
Twelve by Andrea Blythe

Although this books describes itself as being twelve poems, they are more like short stories.
Inspired by the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this short book looks at the tale from a different persepctive. Rather than following the "hero", here we look at the sisters.
How would they feel to have their nights of dancing ended?
Each sister has her own dedicated story - they turn to alchemy, study, adventure, revenge - each sister follows her own path.
The tales also retained the tone and feeling of fairytales and fables.
I really enjoyed this and would recommend for anyone who enjoys Kirsty Logan or Jen Campbell.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely loved this poetry collection which is based on the tales of Brother Grimm. I don’t read too much protruding but this was easily accessible for all readers to enjoy. Will definitely to looking to reading more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Catching up with reviews that have caught up with me. 
A great collection of poetry, would reread. 
Thank you to Netgalley for sending me a free copy to review.
Was this review helpful?
What a great collection of poetry from Andrea Blythe. I am a big fan of retellings and this is the first time I've read a poetry collection of retellings and I will definitely be looking for more. 
A powerful collection of showing society and the way in which it treats women. Blythe does an amazing job with the language to depict and emote feeling and emotions throughout their work. 
I think the flow and pacing of the work was done impressively with each story ending in a way that gives you time to think and also wanting to read on to see what happens to each of the Princess. 
Would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the original fairytales or retellings. 
Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the concept of this – I'm a big fairytale nerd and have read dozens of retellings over the years. The use of language is beautiful at times, and I enjoyed the variety in the narratives. This fell short of love for me, though, as there just didn't seem to be enough to hold it together.
Was this review helpful?
I'm a big fan of fairy tale retellings in all forms. When I first heard about this I knew I had to read it, especially when I saw that it was written in poems. "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is one of the Grimm fairy tales that I read later in life than others but it is one of my favorites. I would recommend reading that before you pick this up, just so you have a background.

I really enjoyed this continuation of the fairy tale. Each princess gets their own poem and it was so interesting to learn about them all. They all have such distinct perspectives on what happened. Seeing how they were affected by the dancing was also intriguing. Some were just so amazing. My favorites were probably the third and fourth sisters. It was great to get the story focused on them and not anyone else. We got to see their interests, hobbies, and personalities.  

Also, definitely read the author's note at the end.
Was this review helpful?
What happens after the "happily ever after" is a very adult question and in fairy tales we rather not ask it... But, not this time, now we know what happened to the 12 dancing princesses and how that can be a greater lesson to us.

In this, short story, the author teaches us that that "ever after" holds a dark side, not only as part of the rapture between the real and the fantastic worlds, but also in a very female empowering way.

Twelve, shows us in a very fluent and "tale-ish" way, the destiny of each of the dancers, taking in to account the effect of the trauma that their situation brought and each personality trait, making each destiny a very different story.

A great way to provide a moral on how our decisions, habits and strengths can lead us to a self-destructive, isolationist or traumatic result.

A story I would like to reread many more times!

An e-ARC of this book was kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange of an honest review
Was this review helpful?
Blyth crafted her small book around the Grimm folktale of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” (also known as “The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces”).  It’s the tale of 12 sisters who sneak off at night to dance with the fairies. Each day they return with their shoes worn out.  The King imprisons them and proclaims that any man who can uncover the mystery can marry one of his daughters. If the suitor fails, then it’s off with the head!  The sisters drug the men so they can’t be followed. But a soldier (with help from an old woman) finally solves the puzzle.  The story ends with him marrying the older sister.  

This is where Blyth’s prose poems pick up the tale. For each sister she creatively envisions her life after the bliss and intoxication of the otherworld.  She weaves stories of rage and guilt, addiction, and mayhem. Ultimately, it is the tale of women who experienced freedom only to be later confined as the property of men. (And yes, there is a feminist cast to her prose.)  I’m sure each reader will have a favorite sister with her over the top solution to living a life no longer of her own choosing.

Each story is filled with poetic ideas, and beautiful imagery. Each story answers the question of what happens after “happily ever after.” Best of all, Blyth includes “Author’s Notes” that discuss her thoughts on the folktale and how she came to her retelling.
Was this review helpful?
**I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I liked this book, however it does not read as poetry to me. It seemed like mini-stories. One-three pages on what happened to each of the 12 sisters. I liked that the author explored what happened to each sister and felt like looking at the many paths women take in their everyday lives. Some became wives, mothers, lovers, explorers, hunters, loners, etc. Some followed convention and others made their own path. It was a cute read and would recommend to those who enjoy fairytales with strong women characters.
Was this review helpful?
Twelve is a really intriguing and insightful retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" which is one we are not necessarily all familiar with. It's a really well-assembled book and despite the poems being separate and standalone, they flow beautifully. 

I'd be really interested in what Blythe will offer audiences in the future!
Was this review helpful?
~*Review*~ 5☆ 

Twelve is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, Twelve Dancing Princesses but written instead, in prose. It tells the stories of what happened to each princess after their secret was revealed and the fairy land was sealed so they could never return.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses was always my favourite fairy tale and this book put a beautiful and haunting spin on it that I absolutely adored. My favourites were The fifth sister, the eight and ninth sisters, and the tenth sister, their stories were so unexpected but beautifully written and I will definitely be rereading this whenever I can.
Was this review helpful?
Somewhat Feminist Retelling of Grimm Fairy Tale

This is a modern re-visioning of Grimm's fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. While not written in traditional poem lines, this book is a collection of prose poems, each for one of the 12 Dancing Princesses (though two are featured together). Even though this is meant for adults, I think having illustrations would have been fun. I wasn't that wild about this book because it seems too violent and otherwise malevolent in places. We adults sometimes forget that fairy tales can have very dark aspects to them. I think this was, perhaps, exploited too much in this book. I did enjoy the heightened language. The words did ring in my ear like fairy tales of old. I just wish I liked the characters and the storyline more.
Was this review helpful?
I was kindly sent an e-arc of this through netgalley. 

This book is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm story “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”. I haven’t read the original story but I really enjoyed this regardless. 

Each poem or ‘chapter’ captures one of the twelve sisters lives in a dark and twisted way. One married and attempting to poison her husband, one seemingly pregnant, one has disappeared, one haunted by ghosts of the men who failed to help their father find the truth of their ruined shoes and the others in similar rubbish situations. None of the twelve dancing princesses seem that happy or content with their fathers discovery of their secret lives and their future at all.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Interstellar Flight Press and NetGalley for the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.
I am not really sure that I would describe these little vignettes as poems, but they certainly have a poetic quality to them.

This collection tells the individual stories of each of the Twelve Dancing Princesses best known from Grimm’s fairy tales. I have always liked that story and I tend to love a good fairy-tale reimagining and this book was no exception. The main sense I got from this collection was one of feminine anger. Anger against the sister’s father and anger against the restrictions placed on them by the patriarchal society in which they live.

This book goes to some surprisingly dark places and the feeling of simmering rage and resentment is ever present throughout. This feeling resonates with modern dialogue relating to feminism and the “Me Too” movement and despite its traditional grounding it felt quite modern. I am not familiar with the author’s other work, but the first thing I did upon finishing this collection was to look up what else they have done as I found her voice so intriguing and compelling.

The short afterword that follows the collection of stories explains the author’s motivations in more detail and the connection is made between the problematic aspects of fairy tales whilst also highlighting their unique sense of female centeredness. 

I was selfishly left wanting more but the brevity of each story was what made them all the more tantalising and exciting. A top class work.
Was this review helpful?
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review *

"There is power in the fact that they enjoyed pleasure for pleasure’s sake and never apologized."

I'm already a fan of Andrea Blythe's work, and I've been meaning to preorder this (which I will now be doing promptly, as the layout and section art is very attractive and I prefer my poetry chapbooks in print.) However, seeing it available as an ARC, I couldn't wait to get a sneak peek. 

A few months ago, I'd read a compilation of short fiction called Trolls Eye View, which contained a 12 Dancing Princesses story, so this fairy tale was fresh in my mind and I was eager to see how Blythe handled the tale. Blythe is a talented writer, but nowhere does her talent burn brighter than her work in the realm of revisionist, feminist fairy tales. 

From poisoner to mother to adventurer to ghosts of their own making, the word I'd use to thread together these vignettes is "haunted" -- how do you return to a life of obligation that you never chose, knowing the pleasures that exist when you are given (or take) the option of choice ? 

The same way the sisters chose to dance in the fairy realm -- so do they choose their own wildly divergent lives after the dancing ends. I favored the Third, Sixth, and Tenth sisters tales -- take from that what you will. I think every reader will see some fraction of their own tempestuous spirit -- and how it might react to its freedom being taken away -- in at least one of these vignettes. 

I call them vignettes because they're not quite poetry and they're not quite prose either, so maybe "proems" is the word to describe these tales. In a way, it reminds me of the structure of Gayle Brandeis Many Restless Concerns, in that it brings a life to a woman who's never been given a name, and exists in the liminal space between poetry and prose. 

I love the art that introduces each sister, and the Author's Note was a fascinating read that honestly, I wish had been longer. I love the idea of an essay that corresponds to a themed creative project. 

Andrea Blythe's work never disappoints me, and it makes me eager to read what her next project will be.
Was this review helpful?