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.

New Review: The Robot Scientist’s Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey

My review of Jeannine Hall Gailey’s haunting new poetry collection, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, is up at The Rumpus:

Jeannine Hall Gailey’s fourth poetry collection, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, reanimates the haunting world of 1970s Oak Ridge Valley, Tennessee, where residents lived in the shadow of both the Smoky Mountains and a government nuclear research facility once known as “America’s Secret City.” In an author’s note, Gailey describes her childhood as the daughter of a robotics professor who consulted at the classified Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) and introduces the fictional Robot Scientist’s Daughter of her collection, who she calls “fantastic” but admits shares many of her traits. The poems that make up this collection move in a controlled way between fact and fiction, autobiography and fantasy, giving readers glimpses into the secret world surrounding ORNL in which Gailey grew up, at the same time as they tell the story of a fictional Robot Scientist’s Daughter who was transformed by that world into something other, something monstrous.

READ MORE…

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.

June 1 Reading in Chicago

WOLFSKIN_coverart_fullsizeI’ll be reading from Wolf Skin in Chicago on June 1 from 1:30-3:30 pm at the Woman Made Gallery Literary Series on the theme of “The Other,” as part of the group art show that is ongoing through June 26. Fellow Dancing Girl Press poet, Janeen Rastall, whose work is wonderful, will also be reading, and I’m a huge fan of many of the poets–like Kristy Bowen and Kelly Davio–who have read at WMG before, so I’m looking forward to this reading very much!

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!

Rhysling Nomination

My poem,  “Irène Joliot-Curie,” which appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly no. 86 (Feb. 2013), has been nominated for a Rhysling Award and thus will appear in this year’s Rhysling Anthology. Here’s the list of candidates over at the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Congratulations to the other nominees!

More Praise for Wolf Skin

I first encountered Jeannine Hall Gailey‘s work in The Los Angeles Review and 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 World explores 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.

– Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of  Becoming the VillainessShe Returns to the Floating World, and Unexplained Fevers

Another blurb for Wolf Skin

Thirteen years ago, I took a graduate-level poetry-writing course with Andrei Codrescu at Louisiana State University.  He taught me a valuable lesson about the political function of poetry,  introduced me to Alice Notley and Anselm Hollo — poets whose writing I still love — and challenged me a great deal to experiment with language and voice.  He is an excellent teacher, an intimidating scholar, and a rigorous critic, a writer whose poetry, prose, and commentary I greatly admire. I was honored when he ran the very first nonfiction piece I ever published at Exquisite Corpse,  and I am honored, today, to read what he has to say about Wolf Skin:

Who knew that a poet would come by one day and reanimate the ancient, tragic fairytale figures of  Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel? And that she would not only reanimate those uneasy ghosts stalking the roots of memory, but also the ghostly plants and animals of the world that devoured and mourned them? Well, she has: it’s Mary McMyne, with her flute of life, blowing healing air into archetypal pain. One by one her ancestral victims rise from the cannibal fog of our oldest past to live in these marvelous prose-poetry stereopticons. Stories to be truly chilled by, wolf hair by wolf hair.

— Andrei Codrescu, author of  So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems, 1968-2014

First blurb for Wolf Skin

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 is full 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.

— Sally Rosen Kindred, author of No Eden and Book of Asters

Wolf Skin to be released by Dancing Girl Press in 2014

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!

dgp-1024x538 (1)

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.