The Princess Saves Herself in This One is Amanda Lovelace’s debut poetry collection. This powerful collection follows the transformation of one woman coming into her own body. Divided into four sections, these poems follow a princess turned damsel turned queen, and finally conclude in the last section titled “You.” The Princess tells the story of a powerless girl in an abusive family who has to come to terms with her childhood. Many of these poems follow the harmful relationship between the mother and daughter and the impact of beauty standards on children.
This above poem is an excerpt from the Princess section and follows the burning of the Princess’ childhood home. This poem reminds me of my own childhood and feeling like a stranger in my own skin. Lovelace captures the complicated relationship between the body and our self with which we constantly struggle. This poem also makes it okay to not feel at home in your own skin, though, which is something I wish I’d known at thirteen.
This poem is from the Damsel section and addresses the Damsel’s complex relationship with her verbally abusive mother and how she comes to terms with her mother’s terminal cancer. Although the Damsel doesn’t give us a positive opinion of her mother in the first part of the collection, Lovelace was able to make me understand why this relationship is so complicated. The Damsel may have been mistreated by her mother, but she still loves her mother deeply. With her mother coming closer to death, the Damsel’s own existence feels debatable. Lovelace begs the painful question of how can a mother forget her own daughter’s name? How can any sickness take the love a mother is supposed to show towards her children (as complicated and harmful as it may be) and erase it? This stood out to me as one of the most painful and touching poems in the entire collection because of the questions I had after reading it.
As someone who graduated two months ago with an English degree, this poem was the biggest relief to read. I mean, seriously, this poem felt amazing to read and summed up my feelings towards anyone asking about my future plans, which, I DON’T KNOW!!!! It also released a waterfall in my Little Writer Heart that kicked my Writer Drought out of the house until it can come back with Writer Rent. Seriously, this poem gave me such a feeling of momentary calm and relief in the middle of the summer in which I’m trying to figure out my entire life.
This last poem is from the last section of the collection, the “You” section. While all of the poems in the collection so far had been following the narrator through her changing roles as she grew up and had to overcome obstacles, these poems feel like Lovelace wrote them for the reader. They are literally for you, and this one particularly felt directed at me. This poem is the reason I write, the reason I read. Writing is dirty and hard work, but when you’ve finish your work, you come through the other side of summer with a beautiful garden where you can enjoy the sweet fruit of your labors. Lovelace gives you a reason to keep writing (or painting or developing software tech. or teaching kids in a school, whatever it is you may do).