Treasuring Poetry – Meet poet and blogger, Luanne Castle, and a review #poetry #poetrycommunity #bookreviewPosted: May 17, 2023 Filed under: Book Review, Books, Interview, Poetry, Review, Treasuring Poetry | Tags: "Writing to be Read, Luanne Castle, Our Wolves, Robbie Cheadle, Rooted and Winged, Treasuring Poetry 56 Comments
Today, I am thrilled to introduce poet and blogger, Luanne Castle, as my May Treasuring Poetry Guest. Luanne has written four poetry books and had her work included in some anthologies too. I have read two of her four books and found her poetry to be unique and fascinating.
Why do you write poetry?
My connection to poetry feels as if it’s deeper than thought and precedes story. Until I was eight years old, I was an only child and spent time entertaining myself. Even before I could read, I listened to records of nursery rhymes and folk songs repeatedly, loving the rhythms and the magical way the words sounded. I started writing poetry when I was a child as it seemed a natural form of expression to me, possibly because of this nursery rhyme background. I still feel this same connection to poetry that I did as a child.
Do you think poetry is still a relevant form of expressing ideas in our modern world? If yes, why?
Poetry is very relevant because it can perform much of the same communication that prose does, but more besides! The music and delight in words found in poetry are memorable, even mnemonic. Poetry also tends to express on many levels, leaving gaps (ambiguity) where readers and listeners supply responses, emotions, and thoughts, thus making poetry the most active and interactive form. We need this activity as a guard against the increasing passivity of our culture.
Which poem by any other poet that you’ve read, do you relate to the most and why?
This is such a difficult question. In April I posted a favorite poem a day on Instagram, but being a favorite doesn’t mean the same thing as relating. Today’s choice for a poem I can really relate to is by Jane Kenyon. The beauty of the natural world, the shift of mood, and the comfort at the end are all very appealing to me.
Let Evening Come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Which of your own poems is your favourite and why?
I have a few favorites from each book, but today’s favorite is this one from Rooted and Winged about my maternal grandfather. He and my grandmother (a big part of my roots) show in several poems throughout the collection. This one is a prose poem and although the majority of poems I write are lyrical, I do enjoy prose poems for the mix of storytelling and poetic language and imagery.
How to Create a Family Myth
My grandfather built a city with his tongue. Houses and little shops, celery fields and sand lots all connected to each other without roads or sidewalks. Once or twice he showed me a map of sewer lines running like Arcadia Creek underneath the cobblestones and packed dirt. We stood outside and found tall buildings in the clouds overhead. His hands gestured how his grandfather placed the bricks and taught his men to shape upwards, each building higher than the one before. Out there on the stoop, he pointed out where his mother, the one he said I looked like, had witnessed a man beating his horse. I saw her calico skirt billow out behind her, her hands wiping across her apron stomach even as she ran. When she reached the man, she snatched the whip from his hand, his surprise at her actions slowing him, rendering him stupid. When she cracked the whip down on his back time did not go on for her as it did for the rest of the world. Not until a week later, when she went to the market, did she realize that the story ran, too. It kept running until it reached all of us, each child and grandchild and great grandchild taking just what is needed from the tale. In my case, I plucked a heart from the clouds and tucked it safely inside a brick house in the city where it keeps the city alive to this day.
Is writing poetry easy for you compared to prose or do you do a lot of editing and revision of your poems?
I do edit and revise my poetry, but I can more quickly get to a finished poem than I used to be able to do. Practice really does improve speed. However, sometimes the fullest meaning doesn’t emerge for weeks after a poem is “finished,” so the best scenario is to put poem aside and look at it again later. As far as prose goes, I find prose fairly easy to write. Where I feel I would be out of my element would be in writing a novel. The plot intricacies and overall structure would drive me mad.
What mode (blog, books, YouTube, podcasts) do you find the most effective for sharing your poems with poetry lovers and readers?
Ah, that is such a good question. I think my blog is very effective for sharing poetry. I love interacting with blog readers and other bloggers about poetry. My books, of course, present a cohesive project to readers. I have a podcast hosted by Rebecca Budd coming up but have not done too much in that area to date. And I haven’t worked with YouTube yet other than some readings I have done have been posted by others. I would love to work more with YouTube and an audio format like Soundcloud in the future.
My review of Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle
This is the second book of poetry and flash fiction by Luanne Castle I’ve read and I really like her style of writing.
Each piece is a reflection on a specific aspect of life and depicts the author’s thoughts and ideas about that particular aspect. It felt like a poetic journal of experiences and interpretations which I really appreciated. The poems are all freestyle and are written as a stream of consciousness without the restrictions imposed by strict sentence formation and punctuation. It flows well and suits the theme of the poetry.
An example of the thoughts and ideas expressed is this stanza from Gravity:
“Why are we only of the earth, Grandpa?
See your knees sunken in muck,
the sun sketching very plane of you.”
The imagery is rich and descriptive. An example of the language is as follows (extracted from Finding the House on Trimble Street):
“The house, once white and raw, has matured into gold. Ripened maples in October red temptingly frame the remembrance. The garage neatly unfolds from the side, the lawn edged in definition.”
My favourite piece is a slightly longer one entitled Today and Today and Today. It is about caregivers and is very poignant. The writer’s observations are so genuine and relatable.
“… She either ignores you or says mean things or praises you endlessly. Each response makes you sad.”
“He can wear only that one sweater. The others are too thin, too thick, too warm, too prickly, or pull over the head.”
Having recently had the experience of a close family member in intensive care in hospital for a period, completely dependent on the nurses who provide the medication and care, I felt as if this description had been pulled from my heart and mind:
“But you feel she knows you are at her side, joking with the staff, making sure that aides and nurses alike care for her as they would their mothers because her submissive form has been brushed with the glow of your personality.”
An extraordinary book of insightful poetry and prose.
Purchase Rooted and Winged: https://www.amazon.com/Rooted-Winged-Luanne-Castle/dp/1646628632
My review of Our Wolves by Luanne Castle
This book is an original and unique collection of poems that expose the wolves that appear in the lives of females during their formative years and through to maturity. The poet has linked many, but not all, of her poetic thoughts and interpretations of human predators to the wolf in the famous story Little Red Riding Hood or Le Petit Chaperon Rouge in the original French (which I have listed to with an English interpretation in my hand).
An example of this connection to the wolf is this extract from Our Old Wolves:
“But you will know how frightened they are
of the dark, shadowed forest and the abstruse mind.
Of human-like wolves concealed behind spruce and fir,
their shadows stretching out tentacles to grasp them
as they tremble past on their way to the locked river.”
Some of the poems turn the readers traditional idea of the hero and the predator on its head and force consideration of how misleading looks, perceptions of beauty and strength, and inbred prejudices can be. It highlights how frequently girls and young women walk right into trouble because of the messages drummed into them by their mothers and society. Women are not taught to accurately identify predators or ‘the wolf’.
Thanks for meeting me for coffee is a good example of this concept:
“I searched for the beginning
of your story and discovered you
were lost when you believed him.
All gone, One a milk carton missing.”
The poems in the book are mainly written in freestyle poetry and are filled with subtle meanings and innuendoes for the reader to consider. This book must be read with an alert and fresh mind in order to appreciate its full meaning and intrigue.
For me, the summary of the meaning and power of this book is set out in the following words from Your Sonnet:
“My mother taught me to be kind, to be helpful,
not to ignore the slow or less than able, the ones
who are different, the needy so I asked what
he needed from me and he misunderstood.
My story is not so very different from yours
and yours and yours and yours and yours.”
If you like interesting and thought provoking poetry, you will love Our Wolves.
Purchase Our Wolves: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Wolves-Luanne-Castle/dp/B0BTKNP31D
About Luanne Castle
Luanne Castle lives in Arizona, next to a wash that wildlife use as a thoroughfare. She has published two full-length poetry collections, Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line 2022), a Book Excellence Award Winner, and Doll God (Kelsay 2015), which won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Her chapbooks are Our Wolves (Alien Buddha 2023) and Kin Types (Finishing Line 2017), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, and other journals.
Find Luanne Castle
Luanne Castle Amazon Author Page
About Robbie Cheadle
Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.
Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.
The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/