Unexplained Fevers

Unexplained Fevers, by Jeannine Hall Gailey (e-Book)

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Unexplained Fevers
Jeannine Hall Gailey
PDF e-book (digital download)
ISBN 978-0-9574661-3-5

*** Nominated for the 2014 SFPA Elgin Award ***

Jeannine Hall Gailey’s third book, Unexplained Fevers, frees fairy tale heroines from their glass coffins and towers while simultaneously looking at the traps that contemporary women encounter – body image, drug abuse, illness – and how to find power and freedom beyond these limitations. Gailey’s trademark wit, charm and energy fill these pages with stories of forests and seascapes, mythical creatures, and the allure of the forbidden.

Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) which was an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist in 2012. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University.

Alyse Bensel, in the LA Review, Issue 15, Spring 2014

Lesley Wheeler in Strange Horizons, June 2013

Robert Peake, “The Ex-Nun, The Soldier’s Wife, And the Fabulist: Three Poets”, in The Huffington Post, June 2013

From RabbitReader, May 2013

Product Description

Unexplained Fevers
Jeannine Hall Gailey
PDF e-book (digital download)
ISBN 978-0-9574661-3-5

Jeannine Hall Gailey’s third book, Unexplained Fevers, frees fairy tale heroines from their glass coffins and towers while simultaneously looking at the traps that contemporary women encounter – body image, drug abuse, illness – and how to find power and freedom beyond these limitations. Gailey’s trademark wit, charm and energy fill these pages with stories of forests and seascapes, mythical creatures, and the allure of the forbidden.

Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com and her Twitter handle is @webbish6.

Unexplained Fevers plucks the familiar fairy tale heroines and drops them into alternate landscapes. Unlocking them from the old stories is a way to ‘rescue the other half of [their] souls.’ And so Sleeping Beauty arrives at the emergency room, Red Riding Hood reaches the car dealership, and Rapunzel goes wandering in the desert – their journeys, re-imagined in this inventive collection of poems, produce other dangers, betrayals and nightmares, but also bring forth great surprise and wonder.”
– Rigoberto González, author of Black Blossoms

Unexplained Fevers begins with that most familiar of phrases, “Once upon a time,” but the world we find inside these covers is deeply defamiliarized. Trapped by physical ills, cultural expectations, and the constraints of marriage, these heroines interrogate the world and propel themselves through it with cunning and sass. We follow, for example, Jack and Jill though a prose poem where they ‘somehow turned thirty without thunderous applause,’ after having sworn they ‘would follow each other anywhere, but anywhere turned out to be a lot like Ohio.’ At the center of these poems – urgent, mysterious, evocative – we find the great topic of all fairy tales, transformation. Read Unexplained Fevers, and be transformed.”
– Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables

Reviews

Alyse Bensel, in the LA Review, Issue 15, Spring 2014
Lesley Wheeler in Strange Horizons, June 2013
Robert Peake, “The Ex-Nun, The Soldier’s Wife, And the Fabulist: Three Poets”, in The Huffington Post, June 2013
From RabbitReader, May 2013

From the collection

She Had Unexplained Fevers

some nights she just wasn’t
herself, skin pale and damp as a child’s
they lay her in a glass coffin
told me there was something in her throat
and I said yes we’ve all swallowed a lot of crap
choked down broken promises like apple.

they just wanted to look at her
beautiful her face still flushed
her lips red as blood on the windowsill
(the promises of her mother come back to haunt her-
why do they wish beauty? Why not safety?)

at night she felt there were eyes on her
but we said there was nobody there
no one could hurt her with us around
still she would fall down     one time
the doc said her hair ribbon was laced
with poison absorbed through her scalp
she slept twelve days straight
we stayed over her and sang

she was nervous about strangers
had dreams about old women and mirrors
we figured she’d come to a bad end
girls like that they bruise easy like fruit
girls like that always getting lost in the woods
looking for a father-figure,
trading in her high-heels for hand-me-downs
but don’t count her out yet

something tells me she hasn’t
drawn her last breath her mouth is still open
she always felt something in her chest
at night said she felt hollow
something about “trading her heart”
something about “destined for an early grave”

you know girls like her always singing
ballads about babies buried under trees
you never know with this kind of girl
hair dark as ebony and skin white as snow
full of nursery rhymes about red roses
this might be the wake up call she needed

 

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