Review: Wolf Skin by Mary McMyne

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.



Summer Reading: Swift Hour by Megan Sexton

Swift Hour by Megan Sexton is the 2013 winner of Mercer University’s  Adrienne Rich Bond Award for poetry. This first collection contains many delicate gems. These poems are tender and powerful in their precise and restrained expression of the human condition.

One of my favorite poems is “Lastoshki,” about a man writing down Anna Akhmatova’s verses on cigarette paper as she says “the words that came to her/ like sparrows falling on snow.” Megan Sexton’s first collection is lovely and refreshing. I’m sure to read it a second and third time.