I first learned about Jeannine Hall Gailey when I heard one of her poems read on The Writer’s Almanac in the bedtime bourbon voice of Garrison Keillor back in 2006. The poem poked fun at the stereotypes of female comic book superheroes, but did so in a way that balanced social commentary with humor. I sought out her debut collection, Becoming the Villainess, and was thoroughly impressed (which sparked my lasting love of the fantastic and eclectic poetry collections published by Steel Toe Books). Jeannine is also a poet with the skill and instinct to avoid the dreadful exposition that so many writers rely on, instead substituting into her writing a wealth of rich imagery and action, the result being the kind of poems you can’t help but revisit—for inspiration and elucidation, sure, but also because they’re just plain fun to read!
In this latest Poetry Feature Issue, Jeannine graces us with four fantastic pieces whose rhythm, sound, and postmodern sense of humor readily demonstrate why she is a rising star in today’s ultra-competitive poetry world. Something in her work reminds me of Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath, yet the careening imagery and wild flintiness that were the trademarks of early confessionalists’ work seem more streamlined, more (dare I say it?) mature in Jeannine’s work. “Introduction to Witchcraft” in particular is one I’m sure I’ll come back to again and again.
IN THIS ISSUE: