Welcome to Luanne Castle’s Kin Types, where every piece, poem or prose, is a ghost –-but not the sort you can see through. You see, Castle’s ghosts have been resurrected through powerful emotion and startling detail, have been made suddenly solid and real again with a skill that brings to mind the work of Edgar Lee Masters. Herein we find all the heart and heartbreak of ordinary lives from the past finally valuated properly, given their own set of lines and stanzas, their own sentences and paragraphs, the attention and care of a gifted and sympathetic writer. Which is to say, you’re going to want to stick around for a while. Kin Types exists at the precise place where literature and history intersect to make something both beautiful and true.
Justin Hamm, author of American Ephemeral, editor of the museum of americana
Luanne Castle’s Kin Types is based largely upon genealogy and a fascination with what comes to all of us from the past. A mix of poetry in the traditional sense and highly poetic prose pieces, the collection takes the reader on a journey into the lives of women and somewhat into the lives of men who must carry on alone once the women are gone. The journey of this collection is not a ramble into the past, but a slingshot into the here and now by way of these portrait tales.
Of particular importance to readers are these lines from
What Lies Inside:
What lies outside my mind is nothing. Mother’s bones cleaner
than steak bones, buildings diminish to the horizon.
Inside my mind
a junkyard, castoffs from outside others,
flickering and igniting when struck on its inside walls.
Clearly, Castle is letting us know that she (and we) are all inhabited by stories of our ancestors.
Castle explores the warnings and quirks of relatives in poem after poem. Perhaps Castle is also issuing a warning in Advice From My Forebears to those whose lives are lived by the word and pen: Don’t quit writing like I did. Make me a promise. The whole collection is a promise, and not to be missed, whether for its flashlight into the past or its beam into the future.
Carol Willette Bachofner, Poet Laureate Emerita of Rockland, Maine