And just as the old versions of this tale have a variety of endings, Cornelia Hoogland's work spirals around the archetypal elements of the tale and readers realize that the outcome is uncertain.
This is not the child-friendly moral-soaked saccharine version of the story; there is something at stake in this tale, a transformation indeed, but its nature is unclear.
This cycle of poems is shared between three voices: Red, Mother, and the Woodsman.
"I could feel
pulsing, my wrist or maybe
There is smiling. Someone is leaning against the tree. Later, there is talk of consent.
"A girl walks into the woods and
trees! Of course trees --
she recognizes the plot. A way through..."
And that talk of consent? It's actually not Red speaking, but the woodsman. That's not language that concerns her, not just yet, anyway.
"Could be the thing that happens
is at its core
composting inside you."
What truly emerges from the belly of a wolf? What was forbidden? Was there a prince involved? The mother's voice issues from a place of greater awareness, even when it is posing questions, but simultaneously it is distanced from the vibrancy of Red's experiences.
Red is at the heart of this tale, but the resonance builds from the engagement between the characters and across the work; this seems to be the perfect sort of collection of poems for the reader who is more commonly found with a stack of prose narratives at hand.
Cornelia Hoogland's Woods Wolf Girl: a retelling that pulls the archetypal into the everyday lives of girls and women and woodsmen.
Curious? There are podcasts of the poems here and there is an excerpt here.