Luanne Castle’s third collection of poetry, Rooted and Winged, is a striking exhibition of poetic intuition and skill. Comprised of forty-four poems and structured in four parts, the poems take readers on a journey through contrasts, dilemmas, and disturbances, all witnessed or summoned by a narrator who offers unflinching observations of nature, scenes, and moods. In keeping with her first two collections, Doll God (Aldrich Press, 2015) and Kin Types (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Castle has woven family members and childhood memories into sometimes quiet, sometimes tumultuous present-day reflections.
This is a reminder that the eligibility period for the Rooted and Winged Writing Contest ends on July 15, which is a week from Friday. However, the deadline for submissions is not until July 27! Read the guidelines here: WRITING CONTEST GUIDELINES
Hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a lovely one. My daughter’s in-laws had us over for an Italian Christmas feast, including gluten free versions for the gardener. We had a wonderful time, needless to say.
I had some minor good news the other day. An excerpt of my unpublished memoir Scrap was a finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards. Woot! That feels like a step in the right direction for this project that has been in in the works since 2008 hahaha.
Coincidentally, on Christmas Eve, the journal Furious Gazelle published three poems, and these poems all relate to material found in Scrap. A big thank you to the editors.
In this photo my father is on our left and his twin brother is on our right. They look like they belong in an Our Gang movie, and it’s true they were raised by the streets as much as by their mother or sister.
After Monday’s post was published, I learned that Kin Types was a finalist for the prestigious Eric Hoffer Award. It’s in stellar company. This recognition validates the work I did on the book and on my family history blog, too. Best of all, the book gets a gold foil sticker for the cover ;).
It will kind of look like this when the sticker is put on the book (only not such a large sticker).
If you click through the link to the Amazon page, the book can be ordered for a real deal right now; check it out. To order through Barnes & Noble, try this link.
If you want a sticker for your copy, send me a selfie of yourself with Kin Types that I can use on this blog or social media (in case I decide to do that) with your address, and I’ll mail you a sticker when they arrive.
My father passed away three years ago this past Monday. My first book, Doll God, had just been published so he was able to read it (and be very proud) before he died. He never got to see Kin Types, although his mother and grandmother are featured in the book.
I’m closing comments because I don’t want you to feel you need to send me congratulations; I just wanted to let you know about the exciting news!
Sometimes we get so used to the jargon of the field we’re in that we forget it’s a specialized language. And that others don’t always know what in the heck we’re talking about when we use it.
I was thinking the other day that when I say that I wonder if Perry is a feral cat or a stray cat that the nuance between those two types of cats could be lost. A feral cat is so wild that he is not used to humans or civilization and oftentimes cannot be persuaded that we are ok. Unless quite young when the socialization begins, it might not be possible to ever get a feral cat to accept human touch. But I say that with a caveat: every cat must be treated as an individual because you just never know which feral cats can be socialized and which socialized cats will never be lapcats–based on temperament, environment, and so on.
Speaking of Perry, I have been reading him Cindy Rinne’s story in verse Quiet Lantern about a Vietnamese girl named Mai Ly who is on a spiritual quest. The farther I go into the story and the more poetic prowess I discover, the more impressed I am with the book.
Another word I’ve flung around the blog lately is chapbook. Kin Types is a chapbook, rather than a full-length poetry collection like Doll God or like Rinne’s book (which is over 100 pages).But what is a chapbook? Historically, a chapbook was a small pamphlet that was truly around before books as we know them today were invented. The first written fairy tales were chapbooks. They were small. They were a few pages. And they were really roughly printed.
Chapbooks today, though, usually meet these qualifications:
Generally poetry, but not always
Less than 48 pages in length, generally around 25-30, but even as short as 15 pages (full-length collection is around 55-75)
Generally has a sharper focus than a full-length collection
Some of the most famous poems were first published in chapbooks–poems by T.S. Eliot, William Blake, Philip Larkin, and Allen Ginsberg
Poems can be used in a full-length collection later (or not)
There are many chapbook contests and small presses publishing chapbooks
There is only one after-publication prize open to chapbooks in the U.S., whereas there are many for full-length books
Poets are encouraged to publish chapbooks, as well as full-length books, and many poets first publish a chapbook rather than a book
Sometimes the binding is more beautiful than that of a book
Sometimes the artistic quality of the binding is poor and the pages look typewritten
Sometimes the book is stapled or bound by cord
Although modestly expensive, chapbooks are not meant to make money (yup, that’s a fact and probably true of all)
Chapbooks are a way to take a risk and strive for art for art’s sake
I did enter Kin Types in a few contests, but they are expensive (entry around $15-25 each) and when the manuscript was accepted by Finishing Line Press for publication, I decided to go with them, rather than spend more money on contests. Still, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest and a Highly Commended title in The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition.
The only writing I’ve been able to do lately is a poem for my son’s wedding. It’s being framed and will be on a table with photographs of the grandparents (of the bride and groom) who have passed on.
Today is the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth in 1912, two days after the Titanic sank. Her birthday was two weeks after that of my paternal grandmother (though they were born 19 years apart). They were both Aries, as is the Gardener. It’s hard to think of anything that is similar about the three of them, except that they have all been count-on-able.
My maternal grandmother’s name was Lucille Edna, although she was known as Edna. (Luanne is created from Lucille and my mother’s middle name Ann). Edna was Class Historian at graduation (her older sister was Salutatorian the same year) and always wanted to be a writer. She thought of herself as the “Jo March” of her family (like in Little Women).
When she was elderly and ill, she made me promise I would never give up writing. That comment from Grandma found its way into a Kin Types poem.
the museum of americana is a literary magazine with a mission close to my heart:
the museum of americanais an online literary review dedicated to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography, and artwork that revives or repurposes the old, the dying, the forgotten, or the almost entirely unknown aspects of Americana. It is published purely out of fascination with the big, weird, wildly contradictory collage that is our nation’s cultural history.
They’ve published two of the poems I intend for my chapbook of poems based on my family history. You can read them here.
I love how my interest in family history and genealogy and research connects with my partnership with poetry in these poems.
On another note, if you bought a copy of Doll God, send me your address and I will mail you a sticker to complete your book cover.
If you haven’t bought a copy, please consider it if your finances allow–either for yourself or if you think you’ll hate it (gotta allow for that) as a gift for someone you think will enjoy it. Amazon says it will arrive before Christmas.
Have I ever told you what book existed before Doll God? It’s a scrapbook my daughter made for me two years ago. In it, she hand wrote many of my poems and she included posts from the adoption blog, Don’t We Look Alike, that we worked on together.
In the slideshow you can see a sample of the scrapbook. Note the subtle cat-themed touches. And if you see a pic of a high school couple just remember that it’s easy to find stock pix online (big winky face).