Beyond Fairy Tales


In stock

poems by

Maureen Sherbondy

Poetry book, 92 pages, $14 cover price

($10 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 1-59948-472-2

Released: April 29, 2014


Maureen A. Sherbondy’s books are After the Fairy Tale, Praying at Coffee Shops, The Slow Vanishing, Weary Blues, Scar Girl, The Year of Dead Fathers, and Eulogy for an Imperfect Man.

Maureen lives in Raleigh, NC, with her three sons. She has a BA degree from Rutgers University and an MFA degree from Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches at Alamance Community College. Visit her website at

Waving her magic wand, Maureen A. Sherbondy transforms classic fairy tales into contemporary fables: Goldilocks becomes a senile woman who sleeps on other residents’ beds in a nursing home, Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy, and the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe abandons her children. The poems push beyond the margins of fairy tales into modern mutations of mystery, betrayal, and loss. Despite multiple personae and shape-shifting, the unique voice of the poet remains constant.
— Beth Copeland, author of Transcendental Telemarketer

Bitter sweet and spot on, BEYOND FAIRY TALES/POEMS IN CONCRETE AND FLESH are about those moments in life when the fairy dust of happy-ever-after has blown away…leaving the reader thinking about the deceit in our own dreams.
— Carrie Knowles, author of Ashoan’s Rug and Lillian’s Garden

With humor and raw, dark beauty, Maureen Sherbondy shows us a world of broken, aging survivors. Her characters dance on the edge of loneliness and longing; they inhabit lost dreams where happily-ever-afters have twisted into financial, emotional, and physical hardship. And yet, one word rises out of this haunting, unforgettable collection of poems: acceptance.
— Barbara Claypole White, author of The In-Between Hour

Maureen Sherbondy’s bold collection takes the reader beyond fairy tales to the pleasures and pains of magical characters, living fantastical and deeply human lives in today’s world. We journey through a “Looking Glass” of contemporary life, leaving this reader amused and amazed by Sherbondy’s brilliant combination of craft and a blazing imagination. What a ride.
— Diana Pinckney, author of Green Daughters

What the Prince Doesn’t Know

Two months ago the mammogram revealed
a lump, and days since then have passed.

She can no longer throw her hair over the wall
for him to shimmy up beneath the star-scarred sky.

In a nauseous-chemo blur, clumps of golden thread
fell from her head to the tower’s cold stone floor.

Still, the witch keeps her here, caged and ill, the left breast
completely gone. Her head a pale bald egg.

So when the Prince yells up to her, Rapunzel, throw down
your golden hair, she hides beneath the sterile sheets.

The Prince

He’s got his pick of the ladies.
It’s a numbers game tilted in his favor.
Twenty of them and one of him.
Still tall, with a full head of white hair
and his original teeth.

One by one, they knock on his door –
the Good Witch, the woman who
once lived in a shoe, Red Riding Hood.
They show up with brownies, sponge cake,

He misses Rapunzel
never thought he’d wind up here
alone, old women throwing their
wrinkled breasts his way, trying
to buy his affection with food.

Jill Gains her Independence

I tumbled down the hill alone;
really it was a mountain.
There was no Jack beside me.
It was not water at the top
but a wish waiting. I’m not foolish,
everyone knows a bucket set out
in the yard gathers rain. Why climb
a hill for that which comes so easily with patience?
I climbed alone, a star dangled just above
the peak, while reaching for that bright light
I tumbled backwards.
Stardust lingers on my fingers.
My back hurts sometimes but
my wishes have all come true. Jack
can get his own damn star.


At 85 she reverts to the girl she once was,
sneaks into other residents’ rooms
to sample their beds.

Too soft, too hard, never just right
anymore, arthritis and age prevent
total comfort, but it’s still a daily ritual.

Nurses find her here and there
but don’t have the heart
to make her move.

Sometimes she wakes screaming
to the walls, yelling.

Only lukewarm porridge
pacifies, lulls her back to sleep.

SKU: 1-59948-472-2 Category: Tag: