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.
Last month brought some good news for Wolf Skin–the chapbook was nominated for the 2015 Elgin Award, an annual competition for speculative poetry collections coordinated by the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA). And this week, SFPA member Sandra J. Lindow reviewed the collection for Star*Line, the SFPA’s quarterly publication. The review is based on a really close reading of the chapbook, and I’m so grateful to Lindow for it. Here’s an excerpt:
Nineteen elegant poems in this simulated antique handmade edition reflect contemporary insight into fairy tales whose origins are lost in time. Native of south Louisiana, Mary McMyne writes poetry flavored by the moonshine of Southern Gothic and puts them in a butterfly frame. There is a witchy, cognitive connection between “the woman in my head who pinned monarchs to cork” mentioned in the first poem, “The Butterfly Dome” and the poems that follow. ‘Lepidoptera’ reveals that ‘unlucky’ butterflies sleep ‘under glass,’ ‘wings wide open—married to cork’ while the woman who collects them dreams of flight as she transfixes their wings. This dichotomy of love and death, freedom and captivity, power and powerlessness is a reoccurring motif ‘pinned down’ throughout the collection… Much is contained in this small package of poems. Highly recommended.”
You can read the review online, in full, here.
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!
Super excited to see the gorgeous cover art for Wolf Skin for the first time tonight!
Huge thanks are in order to the talented Alisha Camus for the cover design. The photograph on which the cover is based is by George Rex.
My first poetry chapbook will be released next year by Dancing Girl Press, a small press in Chicago that specializes in publishing innovative poetry by women authors!
Through a feminist lens, Wolf Skin examines how fairy tales shape a person and the way she sees the world. In these poems, a woman reflects on the stories her mother told her and discovers how to move beyond the duality they reinforce. I’m excited to work with series editor Kristy Bowen, whose poetry I very much admire.