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!

New Review: Book of Asters by Sally Rosen Kindred

I just finished reading Book of AstersSally Rosen Kindred’s haunting second collection (Mayapple Press, 2014). The poems in Book of Asters, like the poems in Kindred’s first full-length book, No Eden, explore themes of motherhood, grief, and spirituality in beautiful, lyrical language. Many of the poems turn flowers into metaphors for womanhood and desire, exploring the fertility, transience, and healing power of asters, zinnias, and weeds. Others explore what happens when the flower of womanhood fails to bloom, using the language of flowers to articulate the secret griefs of infertility and miscarriage. Reanimating a long-ago childhood when carts drifted through Winn-Dixie parking lots, children placed their heads on their desks to listen to records, and a daughter longing for otherworldly talismans stole “fists of quartz” from a neighbor’s driveway, this evocative collection explores the complexities of family life and the relationships of a mother to her children and “all the children [she] will never bear.” Highly recommended.

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

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