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I’ve always loved fairy tales, especially the darker, deeper, originals where good did not always overcome evil. As a young adult I was drawn toward those gothic love stories that were a type of grown-up fairy tale—Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Bellefleur, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and others that blurred the boundaries between the real and the fantastic.

Tales that told the truth but told it slant, as Emily Dickenson advised. Stories that show how slippery the truth is, how slantwise the world lies.

So when my friend and fellow blogger, Luanne Castle, came out with Our Wolves, a chapbook of poetry about “Little Red Riding Hood,” I eagerly scooped it up. I discovered with delight that she explores the slippery, slantwise versions of the classic tale, re-imagines various retellings, and poses intriguing questions.

Who are the “wolves” in our own lives, those who would devour or diminish, strangle or silence us? Who are these little Reds with their erotic cloaks and bobby socks? Their “do-good” Granny baskets and daring treks through dark woods warned by all as dangerous?

And what of the Mother who sends her daughter off on such a risky mission? What of the Granny who chooses to live in such a dark and dreadful place?

What of the Hunter or Woodcutter, who in some versions and not others, comes to save—whom? The Granny or the Girl? Or is it the Woodcutters own blood-lust that lifts the axe that splits the Wolf? Is it lust for the Wolf’s silky pelt that brings the Hunter to Granny’s door?

And what of the Wolf? Misunderstood? Maliciously maligned for being what he is, a Wolf?

If you love fairy tales and poetry, and enjoy exploring the slippery and slantwise, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading Luanne’s Our Wolves available on Amazon.

Here’s a nibble from the last lines of the last poem to whet your appetite:

From “How to Make a Hand Shadow Wolf”

You’re in charge

Tip your hand, open the mouth,

and howl at the moon, all aquiver.