One of my hobbies is retelling the stories of my favorite films in verse poetry–particularly, in a style of poetry that I believe fits the story. For Frozen, I have chosen to tell the story in the style of Edmund Spenser’s Elizabethan romance epic, The Faerie Queene. Like Frozen, The Faerie Queene is a story of enchantment and of a quest or search for an enchanting Queen. Moreover, Spenser’s verse form is a series of nine-line stanzas that combine to form a much longer narrative. This narrative form encourages the poet who works in it to think of the individual stanzas as integral vignettes, as well as parts of a larger pattern or pieces in a larger puzzle. Spenser often displays his poetic skill by writing lines (or even portions of lines) that mimic in microcosm his larger stanza, which in turn resembles a longer string of stanzas. In other words, the poetry fractalizes.
I am currently drafting two “books” of my Spenserian retelling of Frozen, which I have titled The Snow Queene. Spenser divided The Faerie Queene into “books” that featured different protagonists (or sets of protagonists) who personified different moral virtues. The fiction was an allegory, and the potential for allegorical interpretation of Frozen (as a story of the seasons, as a story of fear and love) is another reason I have chosen to retell the story in the Spenserian style. My first book is “The Legend of Elsa and Anna, or of Charity.” Its plot comprises the plot of the movie Frozen, as I have re-imagined it. My second book is “The Legend of King Rosaphel, or of Truth.” It tells the story of Anna and Elsa’s journey to Faerie land, which is ruled over by the young King Rosaphel, a character of my own invention. The plot of this book is heavily inspired by my other favorite Disney film, Sleeping Beauty.
To read “cantos” (short divisions like chapters) from either book, click on the links below:
Note: As with all English Renaissance literature, the spelling in Spenser’s Faerie Queene was not standardized. But unlike with many other Renaissance authors (such as Shakespeare and Milton), modern editors rarely standardize Spenser’s spelling for modern readers. This editorial tradition came about in part because Spenser deliberately used some words and spellings that were archaic in his own time, in order to give his story of Arthurian chivalry a more antique feel. This sense of “once upon a time” created by the language is another thing that drew me to Spenser’s style of poetry as appropriate for a fairy tale like Frozen. Consequently, I have done my best to imitate old-fashioned, unstandardized Spenserian spelling in my own verses.