03 - Becoming the Villainess -Jeannine Hall Gailey Jun 7, 2008 20:51:58 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Jun 7, 2008 20:51:58 GMT 2
Becoming the Villainess
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Praise for Becoming the Villainess:
"Gailey writes with a voice full of wit and charm that keeps the reader somewhat off balance. She serves a dish of fairy tales and myths, part vixen and part Carol Burnett. Hers is an edginess that makes new those tales with which we are familiar. An excellent read that will leave you wanting more."
—Colleen J. McElroy, award-winning poet and editor of The Seattle Review
"These full-bodied persona poems give dimension to the powerful (and powerless) female heroes of myth and comic books with strong voices that struggle against stereotype and silence. Make room for this new take on the oldest story in the book."
—Dorianne Laux, award-winning poet and co-author of The Poet's Companion
"In this splendidly entertaining debut, Jeannine Hall Gailey offers us a world both familiar and magical—filled with fairy tale and mythology characters that are our own bedfellows—we wake up with Philomel and argue with Ophelia while half-listening to a Snow Queen, amidst Spy Girls, Amazons and Mongolian Cows. The wild and seductive energy in this collection never lets one put the book down. (In fact, any one who opens the collection in the bookstore and reads such poems as "The Conversation" and "Job Requirements: A Supervillain’s Advice" will want to buy the book!) For her delivery is heart-breaking and refreshing, so the poems seduce us with the sadness, glory and entertainment of our very own days. Propelled by Jeannine Hall Gailey’s alert, sensuous, and musical gifts, the mythology becomes all our own."
—Ilya Kaminsky, author of the award-winning Dancing in Odessa
Becoming the Villainess
A girl — lovelocked, alone — wanders into a forest
where lions and wolves lie in wait.
The girl feeds them caramels from the pockets of her paper dress.
They follow like dogs.
Each day she weaves for twelve brothers, twelve golden shirts
twelve pairs of slippers, twelve sets of golden mail.
She sleeps under olive trees, praying for rescue.
In her dreams doves fly in circles, crying out her name.
For a hundred years she is turned into a golden bird,
hung in a cage in a witch's castle. Her brothers
are all turned to stone. She cannot save them,
no matter how many witches she burns.
She weeps tears that cannot be heard
but turn to rubies when they hit the ground.
She lifted her hand against the light
and it became a feathered wing.
She learns the songs of mockingbirds, parakeets, pheasants.
She wanders into the forest more herself.
She speaks of her twelve stone brothers.
There is a dragon curled around eggs. There is a princess
who is also a white cat, and a tiny dog
she carries in a walnut shell.
She befriends a reindeer who speaks wisdom.
They are all in her corner. It seems unlikely now
that she will ever return home,remember what
it was like, her mother and father, the promises.
She will adopt a new costume,
set up shop in a witch's castle,
perhaps lure young princes and princesses
to herself, to cure what ails her —
her loneliness, her grandeur,
the way her heart has become a stone.
Reviews for Becoming the Villainess:
"In a time when poetry has become polarized-narrative or lyrical, accessible or academic, serious or comedic--it is refreshing to read poetry that flirts with the spaces in between. Jeannine Hall Gailey's work does just this; she has released a body of poetry that is at once mature and thrilling, humorous and intense, appealing to audiences of poets and non-poets alike. "
"It is a rare thing to find a poem that makes me laugh while evoking serious emotion, but not rare in Becoming the Villainess, with many poems characterized by a sorrowing playfulness reminiscent of Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” In her debut poetry collection, Gailey recreates myths from Persephone to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, examining the victim/villain casting of mythic women with wit, grace and insight...With her blend of colloquial and lyric language, of pop culture and ancient tradition, Gailey not only renews myth for the modern reader, but illuminates our strengths and vulnerabilities through the lens of myth."
"Becoming the Villainess is the debut collection of free-verse poetry by journalist Jeannine Hall Gailey. Addressing the archetypes of myth, from modern pop culture to Ovid to Grimm's fairy tales, Gailey weaves words expressing the hearts of shunned, reviled, justly and unjustly treated villainesses and female victims of fable. A dramatic, moving collection; each poem has a gripping personal story to tell."
--Midwest Book Review
"Ever since “Through the Looking Glass” appeared in Rhino 2005, we have admired Jeannine Hall Gailey’s luminous persona poems that introduce us to worlds both dangerously fantastic and dangerously familiar...this collection invites readers to slip into another skin... This stunning debut is guaranteed to engage readers of many appetites."
"Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Becoming the Villainess remembers a truth that some books tend to forget: poetry can be fun without sacrificing serious intent or importance....Becoming the Villainess is an accomplished first book that should appeal to a wide audience. Like much good poetry, it is, in the end, about unity, reminding us all—male and female, villain or villainess—how our own lives are inhabited and enriched by the myths and stories that have made us who we are."
--The Pedestal Magazine
About the author:
Jeannine Hall Gailey is a Port Townsend poet whose first book of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, was published by Steel Toe Books. Poems from the book were featured on NPR's The Writer's Almanac, Verse Daily, and were included in 2007's The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. She has recently been awarded a 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and a 2007 Artist Trust GAP grant to work on her new manuscript, She Returns to the Floating World. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Columbia Poetry Review, and Smartish Pace. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and teaches with Centrum's Young Artists Project.
Paperback: 96 pages, $12.00
Steel Toe Books (March 5, 2006)
Steel Toe Books: tinyurl.com/3gqy6g
Barnes and Nobles: tinyurl.com/4dg7uu
Also available from Powells and some independent bookstores,
such as Open Books in Seattle.