After reading Michelle Hartman’s new poetry collection, readers will not feel disenchanted or disgruntled. The poetry collection, split in three sections, takes a reader on a journey through an education of storytelling starting with “Fairytales” moving on to “Myths” and ending with, “Reality.” Hartman’s ability see and write things the reader either refuses to see or has glossed over gives her poetry a one-two punch which makes her poetry stay with the reader.
In the first section, “Fairytales,” Hartman seems to channel Anne Sexton’s collection of reimagined fairytales called, “Transformations.” Hartman looks at the underside of fairytales. At times, Hartman looks at the secondary character most readers may not remember from their childhood. In the poem, “Grandmother got game”(p13) the reader meets the grandmother from the Red Riding Hood tale. In Hartman’s vision, this grandmother gets plastic surgery and gets rid of her, “…flour-sack dress”(line 2, p13). In the poem, “By the way” readers are once again treated to a visit from the wolf. It seems Grandmother could not resist the seduction of the wolf. Another poem, “The fallout of fairytales” looks at what happens to the dwarfs after they fed, clothed, and cared for Snow White and she runs away with someone else.
The second section, “Myths,” the reader is introduced to Hartman’s interpretation of what makes myths. The poem, “Used People” (p.40) is a glimpse into the world of the used bookstore shopper. When the shopper picks up a photograph found inside a book on the self, the narrator tries to invent lives of the people in the photo. The shopper walks out of the store with no books, but a photo. In the poem, “She prays for road kill” (p.64) the narrator prays for the soul of the dead animal found on the road and mixes religions, “just in case” (line 13 p. 64).
The last section, “Reality” is a brutal look at what most people do not want to see. The poems on writing are very appealing because this is a world many take for granted and writers only understand what takes place in this world. The poem, “Workshop” (p. 74) takes the reader into the world of a person work shopping his or her poem. All the typical work shop attendants are there and they all rip the poem apart until two lines of the original piece remain. On page 115, readers meet the poem, “Some Assembly Required” which promises the buyer a “guaranteed poet laureate/in every box”(lines 7-8).
Michelle Hartman’s new collection, “Disenchanted and Disgruntled” is a great mix of the familiar and the outrageous. Hartman’s poems punch a reader in a gut and a few days later, the reader will still feel the aftershock of her vision of the world a poet lives in.
To purchase Michelle Hartman’s book, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/Disenchanted-Disgruntled-Michelle-Hartman/dp/0985255250/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361207156&sr=8-1&keywords=michelle+hartman+poetry or http://www.lamaruniversitypress.org/