“Every day the world subtracts from itself,” Luanne Castle observes. Her wonderfully titled collection, Doll God, with its rich and varied mix of poems part memoir, part myth and tale, shimmers as it swims as poetry is meant to, upstream against the loss.
– Stuart Dybek, MacArthur Fellow and author of Streets in Their Own Ink
In her haunting first collection, Luanne Castle has created a space where “the sounds/of the schoolchildren/and the traffic/grind down/to nothing” and where the reader is invited to experience the lasting echo of our primal human past. Who makes our toys, and why? Which toys and in whose likeness? With startling imagery and a keen eye for the subtler shapes of violence and redemption, Castle asks us to consider and re-consider these questions. Like a “world of broken mirrors waiting” the poems call us back to ourselves, our childhoods, and the potential rewards of prayer and reflection. I find both hope and despair in these pages, where “every day the world subtracts from itself and nothing/is immune,” and every object contains a voice and a story. This is a fierce and beautiful book.
– Caroline Goodwin, author of Trapline
Luanne Castle’s new collection, Doll God, is sublime. The manner of these poems– that they embrace the doll and bring to it humanity and divinity–is something to behold. The voice in these poems is tender, visceral, and wonderfully human. Ms. Castle has forged a vision that feels like something you want to dance with, dress up, talk to like a child, but with an adult’s sensibility. I love these poems with my whole heart because they make me feel both childlike and grown, simultaneously. Doll mistresses, primordial conches, Barbies, infuse these poems with tremendous humanity, and they delight with purpose, sadness and joy, and an incredible range that will leave you breathless.
– Matthew Lippman, author of American Chew
PRINT BOOK REVIEW
Christine Butterworth-McDermott’s Dolls, Freaks, Art: American Poets Creating a New Mythology
Volume 14, Number 2, Summer 2017
Butterworth-McDermott’s article is a feminist reading of Doll God. She also reviews two other books, by Susan Swartwout and Denise Alvarez, in the same piece. At the end, she says, “Readers should read and reread the works of Castle, Swartwout, and Alvarez, finding new ways of looking at the world each time.”
Poetry for Starters