Double Jinx by Nancy Reddy
Published by Milkweed Editions
Published 11 August 2015
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Double Jinx follows the multiple transformations — both figurative and literal — that accompany adolescence and adulthood, particularly for young women. Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the rewritten fairy tales in Anne Sexton’s Transformations, and the wild and shifting dreamscapes of Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s work, these poems track speakers attempting to construct identity.
A series of poems depict the character of Nancy Drew as she delves into an obsession with a doppelgänger. Cinderella wakes up to a pumpkin and a tattered dress after her prince grows tired of her. A young girl obsessed with fairy tales becomes fascinated with a copy of Grey’s Anatomy in which she finds a “pink girl pinned to the page as if in vivisection. Could she / be pink inside like that? No decent girl / would go around the world like that, uncooked.”
The collection culminates in an understanding of the ways we construct ourselves, whether it be by way of imitation, performance, and/or transformation. And it looks forward as well, for in coming to understand our identities as essentially malleable, we are liberated. Or as the author writes, “we’ll be our own gods now.”
From Ex Machina
The chorus girls descend their wings a wonder
Of feather and zipline. The oboes
in the orchestra pit yawn
as if to gulp them whole, but the girls
WHAT I THOUGHT
I’ve read a few of Reddy’s poems in anthologies and was impressed so wanted to read more of her work. I decided to read Double Jinx after reading a rave review somewhere. This is a cracking collection of poems and Reddy’s talent is impressive. I love her use of imagery and the way fairytales, both light and dark aspects are blended throughout the collection. Then there’s the whole Nancy Drew homage. What’s not to love? Double Jinx is a cracking collection of poems and is full of the kind of poem I love and could read over and over. I have specific poetic tastes. I’m not a huge fan of nature poetry for example. The poems in Double Jinx fit my tastes exactly. I loved this collection and could read it over and over.