Read Queen of the Mist: The Forgotten Heroine of Niagara by Joan Murray Online

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This novel-in-verse tells the fascinating story of Annie Taylor, who, in 1901, became the first person to plunge over the brink of Niagara Falls in a barrel. But as Joan Murray reveals, America didn't know what to do with a mature and self-possessed heroine: Annie Taylor, as an 'older woman,' was rejected and exploited and finally eclipsed by the man who repeated her stuntThis novel-in-verse tells the fascinating story of Annie Taylor, who, in 1901, became the first person to plunge over the brink of Niagara Falls in a barrel. But as Joan Murray reveals, America didn't know what to do with a mature and self-possessed heroine: Annie Taylor, as an 'older woman,' was rejected and exploited and finally eclipsed by the man who repeated her stunt ten years later....

Title : Queen of the Mist: The Forgotten Heroine of Niagara
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780807068571
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Queen of the Mist: The Forgotten Heroine of Niagara Reviews

  • Tristan
    2019-04-07 00:00

    Actual rating 4.5This long poem tells the story of Annie Taylor, a sixty-three-year-old teacher who became the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. It chronicles how she came to go over the falls, and her life afterwards as a fair performer and lecturer, ending with her approach of death, blind and poor, selling postcards in Niagara. The language is brilliant. Here is an excerpt from the account of the actual fall down the falls:But then I fell into the whirlpooland my veins and arteries unwound.My cord rocketed from its stack of bones.My joints unlatched. My pulsespread out through space. Every atom of medispersed--to a place I couldn't name.I moved in and out of it like breath--expanding and contractingthrough its infinite rings,until only a singlecell of me remained The whole book follows in the same manner, readable and straightforward with lots of highly evocative imagery and metaphor. The first section is a little hard to get into, but the poetry can be found easily after a few minutes of reading; the piece isn't strictly metrical, but has a distinct sense of rhythm.The story of Annie Taylor boils down to the fact that she survived her fall, and that really is the crux of Ms. Murray's poem. Annie Taylor survived, and that survival becomes the focus of the work; the importance of being survive as an autonomous individual,as someone who can influence his or her own destiny is the message of our slightly absurd heroine. She changed her life by changing how she defined herself, and her point is that that is what change is--and it doesn't necessarily take something as drastic as challenging Niagara to make it happen; it is enough to find a mobile moment and to seize it. This makes the poem inspiring without seeming forced; not like it was written to motivate, but simply to show what a person can do when faced with nothing greater than themselves and their world. Annie went over Niagara Falls when she could no longer be a teacher; she created a new identity that would last her life, even as she died forgotten. The book does not plead; the final line is "But I ask you: What else could I have done?" Annie Taylor, as portrayed by Murray, is not here to tell us what to do, but to show that she did what she needed, and that that was enough. My one gripe with Queen of the Mist is the appearance of the man who may or may not be (but really almost definitely is) Jesus. I am unsure whether it would have been better to remove him completely or to simple pare back his part. I understand his inclusion, revealing to Annie both the eventual fate of Niagara and herself as well as how her story relates to the human condition, but he seemed rather heavy-handed in theme (the only place this is the case) and in spirituality. All other "spiritual" or metaphysical scenes are directly tied to Niagara Falls, either in physicality or in Annie's mind, and I thought the his inclusion--as a sort of vision--did not fit as well as it should with Annie's character. The language use in the section was equally skillful, but it was the least impressive section of the book due to its blatant and unceasing exposition of Ms. Murray's argument.

  • Amy Brown
    2019-04-05 04:05

    amazing sustained narrative poetry about a bizarre and interesting actual person

  • Kalima
    2019-04-18 22:04

    This is an incredible book length poem written in the voice of Annie Taylor, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. I highly recommend it.