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Not So Happy Ever After

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Walt Disney's fairy tale adaptations are known for their neat, happy endings. But in their original states, these tales were rife with darkness and despair. 

Writer and poet Maureen Sherbondy embraces the gloom in her new book, "Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh" (Main Street Rag Publishing Company/2014). For example, Sherbondy's Rapunzel loses her hair to chemotherapy.

What the Prince Doesn't Know By Maureen Sherbondy 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.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Sherbondy about bringing familiar characters into the modern context with a darkly comedic spin.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.