When novelist, poet, and featured Buffalo Humanities Festival speaker Janet McNally was expecting a baby girl, she began to ask questions about the stories we tell about girls in the collective Western imagination. Why are so many fairy tale heroines in trouble, asleep, or otherwise unconscious? How do the dangers in these stories—wolves, stepmothers, men—translate to the present day? And how do we teach our daughters to navigate these “girl stories”? These questions led her to explore and reimagine these stories through poetry.
On Saturday, Sept. 26th from 11:00am—12:00pm in Ketchum Hall (room TBA), McNally will read from her forthcoming prizewinning collection, Some Girls, which won the 2014 White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and host a discussion about how we interact with the “girl stories” our culture keeps telling.
Some Girls was described by White Pine Press Poetry Prize judge Ellen Bass as “full of strange and lovely images, quirky humor, and an uncanny insight into the classic myths and fairy tales that reveal these stories to be as true and revelatory as ever. The past and the present, the personal and the universal, are braided with surprising and lush language. The great poet Stanley Kunitz said we have to avoid not only clichés of language, but clichés of thought and these poems succeed in that. Janet McNally is a fresh and original voice.” You can pre-order the collection, which will be released this fall, on Amazon.
Janet McNally has an MFA from Notre Dame and is currently a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow in fiction. Her young adult novel Girls in the Moon is also forthcoming from HarperCollins. She teaches creative writing at Canisius College.