Wolf Skin follows a modern woman whose mother told her dark fairy tales when she was a girl. Many of the poems in the collection retell the tales of the Brothers Grimm from the perspectives of minor characters, such as the huntsman from Little Red Riding Hood, the witch from Rapunzel, and the woodcutter’s wife from Hansel and Gretel. Others look at the stories of popular characters in a fresh light.
Learn more about the chapbook and order copies here.
Update (May 5): The list of participating readers has been updated on the WMG Gallery site. The full list of poets reading also includes Renny Golden, Vandana Khanna, Janeen Rastall, Yunuen Rodriguez, and Erika Sanchez!
I first encountered Jeannine Hall Gailey‘s work in The Los Angeles Reviewand Phantom Drift, and since then I’ve read all three of her books. If you haven’t read them, you’re missing out! In Becoming the Villainess, her first collection, Gailey explores the origins, behavior, and fates of the characters of our collective imagination who help to define what it means to be female: from Greek goddesses to wicked queens, television spy girls to video game and comic book heroines. Her next two books are just as inventive. She Returns to the Floating Worldexplores Japanese folklore and pop culture, building a beautiful and strange, eerie poetic world in which “wasps and swallows/build nests from radioactive mud” and we might meet the fox wife, the crane wife, or a “dragon in the garden.” Unexplained Fevers, her third book, contains alternate versions of European fairy tales in which, for instance, Rapunzel returns, alone, to the tower to “run her fingers up and down the cold stone wall” and Snow White complains that “all these huntsman are the same… promising candy and nosegays, planning to cut out your heart.” Each one of these books is a pleasure to read; no matter the subject matter, Gailey surprises. I’m honored that she took the time to read Wolf Skin and excited to share what she had to say:
In these poems, at the nexus of science and mythology, Mary McMyne delicately dissects wolf, butterfly and crocus with the same careful intensity. Wolf Skin entrances even as it invites us into a world of princes-turned-hedgehog, mothers who disappear, and characters skeptical of their stories. One poem begs, “Huntsman, leave us, like stones in the wolf’s belly, without memory…” but this is a collection you will return to and remember.
So excited! I just received the first blurb for my poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, forthcoming next year from Dancing Girl Press. I was introduced to Sally Rosen Kindred’s poetry through my work with Border Crossing. I’m fascinated by critical retellings of fairy tales and myths, and her poems were thoughtful and lyrical. In one, “Sleeping Beauty Remembers Why” she pricked her finger on purpose; in another, the devil is humanized through the sorrow of his mother. I loved the density of her language, her attention to sound. I was excited to find that her first collection, No Eden(Mayapple Press, 2011), was just as beautiful. A moving look at Southern girlhood through the lens of Biblical myth — the Virgin Mary, Eve, and Lilith are all there — the book isfull of intense, bittersweet poems that demand savoring. I can’t wait to read her next full-length collection, Book of Asters, due out from Mayapple Press in 2014. Given my admiration for her work, you can imagine how honored I am by what she has to say about Wolf Skin:
“Enter the wood, dark and wild, the trees that bend,” sings a voice from Mary McMyne’s quiet, powerful poems, and the enchantment begins. In the rich textures of her work dwells the terrible beauty of trapped things—a butterfly behind glass; a daughter within her mother’s memory; and a girl, always a girl, in a tower, in a wood, in a wolf. As these figures say their names, they tell, too, the price of liberation from—and into—story. Enter these poems, and know their hungers. Some of them will call to you, like the red-capped child in “The Girl Who Came Before” who says, “It is time for us to drown./ It is time for us to touch the moon.” Some of these poems you may never leave.
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 Skinexamines 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.