New Review of Wolf Skin in American Book Review

I have been traveling on and off, since early May, so I only just got the chance to be amazed by this wonderful new review of Wolf Skin in the latest issue of American Book Review!  Huge thanks are in order to Saara Myrene Raappana for her insightful close  reading. Here’s an excerpt:

Reaching beyond the simple retelling or recasting of the myths that compose our culture’s symbolical landscape, Mary McMyne’s Wolf Skin (2014) weaves brave, dark versions of the Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel tales into the emerging identity of a textual version of the poet. In doing so, she creates a new myth about mother- and daughterhood, contrasting the mortality of self and body with the immortality of love. What’s most impressive about this collection is the way that it builds a mere twenty pages into a single composition that illuminates and complicates both the individual speaker and mythical characters, each informing the other… Before any myths have even been mentioned, the book’s central symbology is established: mothers, children, and flying creatures that mediate the connection between the dead and the living… Wolf Skin catches the reader in its snare, personalizing the universal girl of myth and universalizing the individual woman/poet/speaker by blending them together, and in so doing invites readers to identify as closely with the poet-voice as we’re meant to identify with the cautionary figures of our most basic myths.

 

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Two Poems in Ninth Letter

The latest issue of Ninth Letter features two of my poems, “The Sleagh Maith: A Nocturne,” part of my series on folklorist Robert Kirk, and “Open Letter to the Frog Princess,” a poem retelling the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Frog King or Iron Heinrich, popularly known as The Princess and the Frog. Also in the issue is new writing by Dawn S. Davies, Ander Monson, Terrance Manning Jr., and more, not to mention some pretty wild visuals, as usual. I love this journal!

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SlaighMaithANocturneOpenLettertotheFrogPrincess

 

Residency at Vermont Studio Center

I just finished a month-long writing residency at Vermont Studio Center, where I spent each day writing in a beautiful studio with a view of the Gihon River and attended readings, slideshows, and talks almost every night. Especially fascinating was visiting poet Sherwin Bitsui‘s seminar on translation and the way language carries culture, and visiting novelist Matt Bell‘s talk on revision, which was exactly what I needed to hear as I worked on my novel-in-progress. I was impressed with the level of conversation during Q&As after readings and the conversations about craft I had with other residents and visiting writers. Overall, there was a wonderful sense of community, and the campus itself is beautiful. Best of all, I completed the first draft of my novel while I was there! And now, to revise it…

May 2015 Residents at Vermont Studio Center
May 2015 Residents at Vermont Studio Center

Audio Performance of “Primrose, or Return to Il’maril” at Drabblecast

Original art for the issue by E.C. Ibes

My short story, “Primrose, Or Return to Il’maril” (originally appearing in Apex Magazine, Oct. 2014) is currently being featured by Drabblecast, an award-winning speculative podcast, for Women and Aliens Month. You can listen to the story here (scroll down for the link to audio). Host Norm Sherman makes an intense Vierro Casstratil, and Gabrielle deCuir’s voice acting for Virginia Booth is out of this world. There’s even original art, based on Il’marillian mythology, by E. C. Ibes.

Two poems and review essay on Wolf Skin in Chattahoochee Review

My poems, “The Day the Woman Shed Her Skin” and “The Frog King,” are featured in the Fall/Winter 2014 (34.2-3) issue of The Chattahoochee Review, alongside a review essay by contributing editor Gregg Murray on “Confessionalism and High Modernism in Recent Work by Sampson Starkweather, Mary McMyne, and Okla Elliot.” Here’s an excerpt:

McMyne’s elegant lyricism elevates the verse, giving the fairy tales a weird significance that the many epigraphs in the chapbook (translated, typically from the original German) lack… Her details, such as the Latin name of a plant or butterfly, are authenticating, an important feature of fantastical genres. Such details allow the reader to suspend disbelief and trust the world of the text.

I’m honored to see Wolf Skin get such attention and to see my work included in this issue. One of the highlights for me was “Nathan,” a wonderfully bizarre story by David James Poissant, which reminded me of one of my favorite shorts by Donald Barthelme.

“Snow White and Rose Red” series in Faerie Magazine

I’m delighted to have five poems featured in the winter 2014 issue of Faerie Magazine alongside fairytale photography by Margarita Kareva, fiction by Kate Bernheimer and Alice Hoffman, an essay by Signe Pike, and more. My poems take another look at the “Snow White and Rose Red” tale as collected by the Brothers Grimm. Look for Faerie in your local Barnes and Noble, or subscribe online today.

From the winter 2014 issue of Faerie
A sneak peek at the spread
SongOfTheBeast
“Song of the Beast”

Reading Oct. 9 at Bayliss in Sault Sainte Marie

I’ll be the featured poet at this week’s Superior Poetry Cafe, tomorrow, Thursday, October 9, 2014, at 7 pm at Bayliss in the Sault. Wolf Skin will be available for sale and signing. The open mic after the reading is always interesting! U.P. poetry folks and fairy tale aficionados, see you there.

“Camille” Wins Second Place in Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction

My short story, “Camille,” has been selected by judge Julianna Baggott as the second-place winner of this year’s Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction! This is one I’ve been working on for a while — it’s the story that opens my novel retelling the Odysseus myth from the perspective of a Vietnam soldier’s wife — so I’m excited it has found a home. “Camille” will appear in the fall 2014 online issue of Philadephia Stories. I’ll post a link here when it’s up. Thanks to Julianna Baggott and everyone at Philadelphia Stories for their work on the competition and the McGlinn, Hansma, and Dry families for funding the prize!

Three new poems on folklorist Robert Kirk in Contrary

Three of my new poems exploring the life, death, and work of Robert Kirk — the 17th century Scottish folklorist, minister, and Gaelic scholar — are featured in the summer issue of Contrary Magazine! Robert Kirk was the author of The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairiesa pseudo-scientific study of the folk beliefs of his parishioners about the sleagh maith — that is, the sith or fairies — and all of the other “subterranean and invisible inhabitants” of Scotland. Left in manuscript form at the time of Kirk’s death in 1692, The Secret Commonwealth was published by Andrew Lang in the 19th century. I’m fascinated both by the book, which paints a vivid picture of 17th century Scottish folk beliefs, and by the facts of Kirk’s life. He claimed to have second sight, truly believed in the sleagh maith, and was found dead in his nightshirt one evening on a dun-shi, or fairy hill, in his native Aberfoyle, Scotland. You can read the poems here.

Interview about Wolf Skin with Tanya Chernov

The interview Tanya Chernov conducted with me about Wolf Skin is now up, over at her blog. Below is an excerpt from the beginning:

TC: Let’s talk about that fantastic title! At what point in the process of composition did you nail it down and know you had the title of your manuscript? What does it represent for you?

MM: Many of the poems in the chapbook explore our preoccupation with putting on a front of invulnerability or fierceness. European folktales as we know them today are violent stories, with clear underlying assumptions about the widespread existence of evil in the world. One of the questions I found myself asking, as I wrote these poems, is do I believe in that evil? Whatever it is, how should we choose to react to it? The title poem follows the huntsman from the Brothers Grimm variant of Little Red Riding Hood as he comes upon the wolf asleep—snoring loudly—in the grandmother’s bed. Because the poem is written in second person, reading the poem, you enter the huntsman’s mind as he realizes what the wolf has done and rushes to save the girl and her grandmother. You become the huntsman, as he “slit[s] the beast open, the word hero stinging [his] tongue.” But Red and the grandmother do not respond, here, as they do in the Grimms’ version. At the end of the poem, the huntsman plans the story he’ll tell his friends, then tries on the “wolf skin” as he walks home. The title shifted several times during the writing process, but when the poem was accepted at Los Angeles Review, I loved your and Kelly Davio’s suggestion that I pull out the phrase “wolf skin” from the final verse and use it as the title, because of the way it brought out the themes of the poem. Ultimately, the poem asks, what really happened at grandmother’s house? Why do men become heroes or villains?

Read the rest of the interview here

Tanya Chernov earned her MFA in poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, Whidbey Writers Workshop. Author of the Kirkus Review’s 15 Excellent New Memoirs, A Real Emotional Girl  (Skyhorse Publishing), she is the former poetry  and translations editor for the Los Angeles Review. In 2014, she edited the groundbreaking multimedia poetry anthology, The Burden of Light. Tanya lives and writes in Seattle with her dog, Mona, though the roots of her heart remain firmly planted  in Wisconsin. 

Fairy Tale Book Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive these six autographed, collectible, fairy-tale-inspired books.

Wolf Skin, Mary McMyne's vintage-inspired, Brothers-Grimm-retelling poetry chapbook.Faery Tale, Signe Pike's moving, international fairy folklore memoir.The Fairest of Them All, Carolyn Turgeon's novel retelling Rapunzel and Snow White.The Chronicle of Secret Riven, Ronlyn Domingue's original, epic fairytale novel.Faerie Magazine #26, feat. fiction by Kate Forsyth and Joanne Harris and interview with Maria Tatar.Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, Sally Rosen Kindred's handmade, Peter-Pan-inspired poetry chapbook.
The Chronicle of Secret Riven, Ronlyn Domingue’s original, epic, fairy-tale-inspired novel.
Wolf Skin, Mary McMyne’s vintage-inspired, Brothers Grimm-retelling poetry chapbook.
Faery Tale, Signe Pike’s moving and elegant memoir exploring international fairy folklore.
Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, Sally R. Kindred’s Peter Pan-inspired poetry chapbook.
The Fairest of Them All, Carolyn Turgeon’s magical novel about Rapunzel and Snow White.
Faerie Magazine #26: fiction by Kate Forsyth and Joanne Harris, interview with Maria Tatar.

More On These Books

Fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar called the world of Ronlyn Domingue’s The Chronicle of Secret Riven a “wonderfully inventive realm” and its title character “so powerful that we are both startled and enchanted as we tumble headlong into her world.”

Andrei Codrescu said the poems in Mary McMyne’s Wolf Skin “reanimate the ancient, tragic fairy-tale figures of Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel” in “marvelous prose-poetry stereopticons… stories to be truly chilled by, wolf hair by wolf hair.”

Harper’s Bazaar  praised Signe Pike’s memoir, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World, for its “distinctive voice and elegant prose” that captures “the hopefulness of childhood and the magic of believing.”

In a review for Strange Horizons, Lesley Wheeler praised the “lush, uncanny poems, such as ‘Notes from a Fairy Autopsy’ and ‘Naming the Never-Birds” in Sally Rosen Kindred’s Peter-Pan-inspired chapbook Darling Hands, Darling Tongue for their “dazzling fantasy.”

Library Journal said Carolyn Turgeon’s The Fairest of Them All “incorporates a sense of melancholy that adds an enormous amount of depth” to this “magic-sparked… fresh…” fairy-tale mash-up, which imagines Rapunzel growing up to become Snow White’s wicked stepmother.

Faerie Magazine #26 features whimsical articles on fairy-tale art, photography, travel, and fashion; humor and lifestyle columns; fairy-tale fiction by Kate Forsyth and Joanne Harris; and a fascinating interview with fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar.

How to Enter

1. Log in to the giveaway below. Then choose an option to enter: you can tweet a message about the giveaway or connect with our authors on Twitter and facebook. Complete more than one option to earn extra points! a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Deadline for all entries is 11:59pm ET, Monday, June 30th.

3. On Tuesday, July 1, one winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter and announced here in this blog post, as well as in the comments. Entries will be checked for accuracy before a winner is confirmed. The official winner will receive an email with instructions on how to claim the prize!

4. The winner must claim the prize by July 7, 2014, midnight, ET.

5. U.S. residents only. Winner must use a non-P.O. Box address. Authors will mail books separately.

 

If you have questions about the giveaway, please e-mail Mary

Back from Germany

I had an amazing time in Germany, researching medieval Konstanz and Freiburg, exploring city museums, hiking the Black Forest, and visiting Hildegard of Bingen’s abbey. ‘The Book of Gothel’, my novel-in-progress, is annotated to bits. Below is a gallery of some of what I saw while I was there!

I have to thank the wonderful Sustainable Arts Foundation for the grant that enabled this trip! If you’re a parent artist or writer who needs time to create or money to research a project, they are an incredible organization! I can’t say enough good things about them.

 

 

The Burden of Light Now Available on Kindle

The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss (edited by Tanya Chernov) is now available on Kindle! The first of its kind, this multimedia anthology weaves together many solitary experiences to create a tapestry of inspiration, support, and hope. In it, you can read my poem, “Irène Joliot-Curie,” watch a short video introduction about my inspiration for writing it, and watch and listen to me read the poem. The anthology also includes inspiring, personal multimedia contributions from eighty-nine other poets, including Jeannine Hall Gailey, Kelly Davio, Janeen Rastall, and many others. Contributions include audio, video, paintings, photos, digital art, and links to books and literary magazines. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds benefit cancer research!