Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

HarperCollins 2014. 114 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9780062289575 (hardcover)
9780062289599 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 811
Book type: Anthology
Book genre: Poetry

Text Elements:

figurative language, multimodal, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This collection of short, succinct and accessible poems takes a critical look at the multitude of harmful pressures and paradoxes facing women today. The opening poem asks: “Where are the fairy tales about gym class or the doctor’s office or the back of the bus where bad things also happen?” From sexual assault to fashion magazines to sexual pressures, the poems use fairy tale-tinged language to take aim at some of society’s darkest truths.

“Once there was a girl who wore her bones outside of her body,” begins one poem about anorexia, “who even after she became a beast, soft fur blanketing her cheeks, belly and back, still shaved her legs.”

Some poems are humorous, such as “Photoshopped Poem,” which begins: “Some said the Before poem had character.” Another one, entitled “If Tampons were for Guys,” explores the differences in marketing strategies for gendered products: “Panty Shields are now just Shields or maybe Boxer Armour.” Darker poems include “Nature Lesson,” which challenges the victim-blaming in sexual assault cases, and “Spotless,” a poem about self-harm: “I have seven sharp lines, as deep as the silence of my days.”

The language is beautiful, sometimes blunt and sarcastic. Some poems feature lists, fake advertisements or news articles; others capture a general mood or atmosphere. Each poem takes on the beauty myth in a different way, combining fairy tale analogies with contemporary imagery for a collection that is at once clever and unsettling.

  •  

    Share the table of contents and read the titular double-page spread in order to make predictions about the nature of the text. Note your ideas and come back to them periodically during reading.

  •  

    In a production or response group, select one or more poems to analyze. Share what you notice, what it might mean and why it might matter. Make production notes following the discussion.

  •  

    Use the poems as texts for response or as models for written productions. Written texts (and responses) can be collected and anthologized. Share your writing with your peers.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Health and Well-Being