A discussion between poets GennaRose Nethercott and Mary Kovaleski Byrnes about the process, the art, and their new publications.
In the ingenious and vividly imagined narrative poem The Lumberjack’s Dove, GennaRose Nethercott describes a lumberjack who cuts his hand off with an axe—however, instead of merely being severed, the hand shapeshifts into a dove. Far from representing just an event of pain and loss in the body, this incident spirals outward to explore countless facets of being human, prompting profound reflections on sacrifice and longing, time and memory, and—finally—considering the act of storytelling itself. The lumberjack, his hand, and the axe that separated the two all become participants in the story, with unique perspectives to share and lessons to impart. “I taught your fathers how to love,” Axe says to the acorns and leaves around her. “I mean to be felled, sliced to lumber, & reassembled into a new body.”
Inflected with the uncanny enchantment of modern folklore and animated by the sly shifting of points-of-view, The Lumberjack’s Dove is wise, richly textured poetry from a boundlessly creative new voice.
So Long the Sky is an echo. A feeling that lingers between the past and the present. The motivation of a family history that spans decades and continents, and a history that moulds and remembers—where it has been, where it is going.
It is rare for a first book to have such range and depth—the trials of the immigrant; the paradoxes of romance and family life; the wrangling with saints as well as sinners—So Long the Sky is a beautifully written travelogue of the soul. — John Skoyles
Certain books were “banned in Boston” at least as far back as 1651, when one William Pynchon wrote a book criticizing Puritanism.