Wolf Skin by Mary McMyne (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) creates a world where fairytale characters return to us, claiming their stories for themselves.
In “Fur,” Red Riding Hood’s single mother tells her, “Be not girl…but wolf,” and in “Rotkappchen” the girl begs the hunstman to leave her and the grandmother “in the wolf’s belly, without memory.”
The title poem, “Wolf Skin,” shows us the hunter who, after saving the grandmother and the girl, wraps himself in the slain wolf’s skin and calls himself a hero, while inwardly admitting he doesn’t understand the mystery of cutting them out of the jaws of death.
While McMyne retells several different Grimm’s fairy tales, often using the German words for characters or titles, at the same time she explores themes such as death, rebirth, pain, cessation of pain, and entrapment within the confines of societal norms.
McMyne’s language and imagery evoke a world that is close to the pulse and marrow of life. The poems are alive to the unspoken urges and forces that only reveal themselves to us in dreams and ancient stories.