“Note how the red rose,velvet worn by early frost,clings confidentlyto its own treacherous stem,never accursed by mirrors.” Luanne Castle Welcome to …Season 5 Episode 14: Luanne Castle on A Poet’s Voice
Tag Archives: Kin Types
Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor those who sacrificed their lives in our military. I am sharing a poem from my chapbook Kin Types about a sister who awaits word from her brother who is a soldier in WWI.
Once and Now His letter, once wet and now dry, once wrinkled now smoothed against her breast, once a receptacle for all he could not say, the lone poppy in the field, the striped sky, not the mud, men, horses, bullets, shovels. Definitely not, but she suspects as much. She listens to her husband outside the church door, reads the casualty lists, hovers around those waiting. Now her big brother’s letter like his touch on their dying mother’s cheek, is enough. He’s been long a soldier, the bachelor patriarch. In the early days he wrote pages of the trembling sweep of the Pacific, ancient trees and reeds poking like magic sticks from the water, a field of buttercups near the Presidio, a borrowed horse he rode. Given their immigrant circumstances, the career had seemed wise until now, with Huns like red devils leering down from propaganda posters jeering them with their German names, a town friend’s Dachshund ripped from her arms, his brains smashed on the pavement, onto her shoes. Shoes she showed Clara, pointing, See, see how dangerous they are in their hate! The knock sneaks up on her from behind. She has turned to put the letter in the ribbon- tied stack, so standing between fourteen years of letters and the knock, she knows that this is not the paperboy coming for his coin. She knows what a ridiculous leap her mind has made, but still she is certain about the paper, and it is a paper telegram. Without opening it, she slips the Western Union under the grosgrain. Once busy, she has all the time in the world now. Clara Mulder née Waldeck 1884-1953 Caledonia, Michigan, United States
Clara has received the dreaded telegram that will validate her worst fears--that her laughing, vibrant brother will not be coming home.
I chose a very mild–in this case British–stamp with WWI propaganda.
Eilene Lyon of Myricopia has written a beautiful review of my chapbook Kin Types. She writes on her blog about her family history (among other things), and is finishing up a book about it as well. About my chap:
This slender volume is saturated with spirits brought to life by Luanne Castle’s soulful words in prose and poetry. It’s a collection I will read again and again, as it inspires a hope that some of her magic will rub off on my attempts to reinvigorate my ancestors’ stories. The writing is not just creative and lyrical, but draws on deep research and compassion.
Though there are instances of tragedy and death—universal human events—not all is gloomy within these pages. I love how “Half-Naked Woman Found Dead” conjures the purple prose of 19th-century journalism, and despite the dire subject, makes me laugh out loud with the final line. In “Genealogy” she takes a simple subject, the name Frank, and in a few words imparts both a legacy passed down and a deeper meaning tied to the name itself.
The details Castle creates to evoke time, place, and experience, continually astonish me. The veil clouding the past is pierced and we step into the shoes of her long-gone loved ones.
Coincidentally, two of the Kin Types poems were just reprinted by Verse-Virtual in the May issue. You can find them here:
Check out the other poems in this issue, as well. Some lovely work.
You know that first poem, “Genealogy”? As you can see it’s about the name Frank and looks at another meaning of the name. So when I first heard about the great Diane Seuss’ phenomenal book Frank: Sonnets I knew the ambiguity inherent in that one-word title and was intrigued. In fact, her collection is a frank exploration of her life in poems, as well as inspired by but completely different from the work of poet Frank O’Hara. If you read one poetry book by a “great” this year, make it Seuss’. The book has just taken these awards:
Winner of the 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection
Winner of the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry
Winner of the 2021 L.A. Times Book Prize for Poetry
Finalist for the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Pretty darn amazing, but you will see why the book earned them.
On another note, I have a bundle of yummy looking poetry books to read by Merril D. Smith, Justin Hamm, Caroline Goodwin, Millicent Accardi, KB, and John Sibley Williams. Woohoo!!!!
And, finally, I am tinkering with the memoir. Is a writer’s work ever done? Kind of like being a woman (if you remember the expression).
Finally, on a completely unrelated topic, I found out there is a haunted hotel in Phoenix, Hotel San Carlos. That’s right. You can read about its checkered history here.
Make it a good week!
Alice Osborn has reviewed my chapbook Kin Types for the new Winter 2019 issue of Main Street Rag.
I love how she calls the book a “labor of love.”
It’s a beautiful issue with fiction and poetry, an essay, and quite a few book reviews, and best yet, it’s only $6! Click this link.
KIN TYPES IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON:
Remember my kitty Tiger, star of The Bitch’s Tale? She has gotten a bit skinny, so I took her to the vet for bloodwork and urinalysis. Her kidney and liver values are now elevated, and she had to have an add-on test for pancreatitis. Please send positive vibes and prayers for Tiger that she just has slow aging issues and not a serious illness. I had thought Tiger was 14, but after recalculating and conferring with my son, we believe she is at least 15.
Suddenly my headshots seemed really out-of-date to me, but I have no budget “presently” for new ones. Daughter to the rescue!!! You may or may not remember that she made the trailer for Kin Types. I asked her if she would take new headshots for me, and she eagerly agreed (yay!).
I’m going to tell you the secret right up front to doing your own headshots and portrait photos: a ring light. Yup, you can get them online for $100 or so. So so cool. I’m not sure what daughter’s brand is, but here is a sample. OK, so if you buy a ring light, your headshots aren’t exactly free. But if you have a family member or friend with a ring light you can borrow it like I did ;). And I borrowed her time and skill.
That is the first one in a series of three. Here is #2:
OK, I’m now overloaded on looking at my own pix (something I hate almost as much as hearing the sound of my voice).
That poncho I’m wearing I bought at the art museum in Knoxville. The artist is Judi Gaston. It has a pretty button design. You can’t see it here, but you can in my Instagram post.
My uncle, the one who lives in Arkansas is visiting right now so I am going to try to close comments. Plus I don’t want you to have to say how good the headshots look because I might gag although I so appreciate daughter’s wonderful photography skills.
Extreme Circumstances: The Life of Caroline Meier Waldeck (Sixth and Final BROAD STREET Magazine Article)
The sixth and final installment of what research went into the pieces in KIN TYPES, published by the beautiful magazine BROAD STREET.
Some of my relatives whose lives I wrote about in my chapbook Kin Types were heroic, but for week five at BROAD STREET magazine, I discuss the research for family history that is not heroic. Instead, I found it to be devastating.
I’m so jazzed to have an article about the aftermath of the fire at my relatives’ home in 1902 up at the wonderful creative nonfiction magazine, Broad Street! It’s week 4 of the 6 week series. This is the only piece featured that is flash nonfiction, rather than poetry, although I am hoping you can find some “poetry” in it.
The poem this week is about the brother of a relative through marriage as told by their dead mother. They grew up in an abusive orphanage, but the subject of the poem did not keep quiet about it!
Week two up at Broad Street Magazine! So thrilled. How did I learn that my great-great-grandfather’s sister was an artist?