Two Poems in Cimarron Review

I received my contributors’ copies of Cimarron Review in this afternoon’s mail. It’s an honor to have two poems from the full-length poetry manuscript I’m working on appear alongside work by Karen Skolfield, Sidney Wade, and Edmund White.  Highlights for me, in addition to work by the above-mentioned poets, included Katherine Kaufman’s prose poem, “The Foxes,” and Miriam Cohen’s wonderfully sardonic short story, “Wife.” You can order copies here.

    

 

Wolf Skin at Baltimore Composers Forum

My prose poem, “Wolf Skin,” had its musical debut this week at the Baltimore Composers Forum concert with the original score by composer Elizabeth Skola Davis.  Watch the video below to see the performance by Joseph Regan, tenor, and Tim McReynolds, piano!

The lyrics originally appeared as a prose poem in the Los Angeles Review and as the title poem in my chapbook.

Frostburg, Jackalope-Girl, and Rose Red Review

I’ve been remiss in not writing about my wonderful experience at Frostburg Indie Lit Festival in October, where I was invited to be part of a panel on Fairy Tales Reimagined by Sarah Ann Winn. I stayed with a fabulous group of writers at a beautiful cabin in the mountains outside town, where the view on my morning runs actually looked like this:

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At the festival, I went to wonderful panels and readings, met people in person whom I’d only known online before, and sold some copies of Wolf Skin at the book fair! The panel itself was so much fun, because identifying the traits that make fairy tale retellings successful–both in poetry and in fiction–has been an obsession of mine for years! It was wonderful to be able to talk about that with other writers and readers of the genre, and to get to hear fellow panelists Stacey Balkun, Sally Rosen Kindred, and Sarah Ann Winn read from their books. Bonus: I got to read snippets from Anne Sexton’s Transformations and gush about Donald Barthelme’s Snow White!

One of the chapbooks I bought at the book fair was Stacey Balkun’s Jackalope Girl Learns to Speak (Dancing Girl Press, 2016), from which she read at the panel. This was the first chapbook I chose to read from the mighty haul of books I bought (there was so much goodness!); I literally read it cover to cover at the I-Hop outside Frostburg on the drive home. Jackalope-Girl is a startling, fabulist collection full of wonderfully surreal imagery; I hadn’t read anything like it before. In the first poem Balkun imagines the title character born into a suburban family during an ice storm: “It was unusual/the cold front, the leporid wind scream./Nurses worried in the maternity ward…” She continues:

If the patients looked up, they would have seen
the last photographs of the new-dead flicker

across the screen with captions like tragic…
while frightened deer stilled in yards, antlers branching

toward the grayed sky. Gas stations and their 24/7 signs
stood, for the first time, un-glowing and nobody knew

to blame the jackalope-girl, newborn and hungry,
ears still unfurling, nesting in a stranger’s arms. (“Myth”)

The rest of the collection explores what follows from this premise in all its strangeness. Balkun spins a wonder-tale about Jackalope-Girl with poems that tell of her lost birth-sisters, how she learns to speak, her first time, her first tattoo. But the real wonder of the collection is the extended metaphor Balkun builds, simultaneously, about alienation, adoption, and those who feel like transplants in their own families. I highly recommend picking it up (here’s a link).

Immediately after I got back from Maryland, two of the poems from the full-length collection I’m working on were featured in the autumn issue of Rose Red Review. In the Dining Hall of the Glass Mountain” is a retelling of the Seven Ravens tale; “Bones Knock in the House” is a villanelle exploring the latent content in Hansel and Gretel. Also recommended in this issue is Sarah Ann Winn’s poem, “Witness” and John W. Sexton’s poem, “All the Way Down.” Thanks to editor Larissa Nash for all the hard work she did putting this wonderful issue together!

The Gossamer Pleasures of Faerie Magazine

Last summer, I started editing poetry for Faerie Magazine, the lush quarterly edited by Carolyn Turgeon, which was just profiled in the Style section of the New York Times. If you haven’t heard about Faerie yet, you should check out this article, which examines the magazine’s “gossamer pleasures” and calls it “wonderfully curious and deeply weird.”

I have to say, it’s been a delight to read all of the poetry submissions we’ve received these past few months, and to connect with other fabulist, fairy tale, and science poets. This autumn, we were excited to feature two gorgeous fairy tale poems by Sally Rosen Kindred.

The Winter 2015 Issue
The Winter 2015 Issue

The winter issue, out soon, will feature two seasonal science poems by naturalist and poet Elizabeth Bradfield, alongside an interview in which she explores the connections between her poetry and her work as a naturalist. Also featured: an interview with Isabel Allende!

Interested in learning more about FaerieCheck out our submissions guidelines here, subscribe here, or look for the magazine in the lifestyle section at Barnes and Noble. You can also sign up for our free weekly newsletter in the top left corner of this page.

Wolf Skin Wins 2015 Elgin Chapbook Award

Cover design by Alisha Camus
Cover design by Alisha Camus

I received news yesterday that my debut poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, won the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Elgin Chapbook Award! The award honors the best speculative poetry chapbook published in 2013-2014. I was honored to be nominated, and I’m just plain thrilled to win! I’ve been writing speculative poetry since I was a kid, and I’m amazed to have my work recognized by this wonderful organization whose grandmasters include luminaries like Ray Bradbury, Jane Yolen, and Bruce Boston. Read more about the chapbook here, and order a copy here.

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.

 

WolfSkin_review_Raappana

 

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

 

New Review of Wolf Skin

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Wolf Skin Release

Cover design by Alisha Camus
Cover design by Alisha Camus

My poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, has just been released by dancing girl press!

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.