Acadiana

Acadiana

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Title:Acadiana
Author:Nancy Reddy
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Edition Language:English

Acadiana Reviews

  • Greg

    Obscenely good. Obviously.

  • Grady

    ‘You ask small questions and for this you will not be forgiven.’

    New Jersey poet Nancy Reddy teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey. She is a prize-winning poet – the National Poetry Series – and has won grants and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. In addition to this new collection of poems she has published DOUBLE JINX: POEMS and her poems have appeared in 32 Poems, B

    ‘You ask small questions and for this you will not be forgiven.’

    New Jersey poet Nancy Reddy teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey. She is a prize-winning poet – the National Poetry Series – and has won grants and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. In addition to this new collection of poems she has published DOUBLE JINX: POEMS and her poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Blackbird, The Iowa Review, Smartish Pace, and other anthologies and publications.

    The title of this thoughtful collection ACADIANA, when exploring Wikipedia, is the official name given to the French Louisiana region that is home to a large Francophone population. Many are of Acadian descent and are now identified as Cajun. But the poems are less about history than about natural disasters and the strange events and sights that accompany such disasters as hurricanes and the dark swaps of the area. Nancy finds the interplay between myth and reality, often painting one over the other to produce a sense of the mystical that somehow explains the devastating physical events she observes.

    THE FIRST MIRACLE

    After sunrise service papa walked us to the marsh’s edge

    and we raised our palms up to the pinking skyline,

    one by one he lit a box of barnburners and held each glowing tip

    against the thin web of skin beside my thumb

    and while the little ones looked on, he peeled the blister back

    to show the new skin risen opalescent beneath my worldly

    flesh. Papa breathed a wish into my palm and the wound bloomed

    a cloud of honeysuckle. The sweet scent made me sick

    and mama called us all to come inside, to change and

    start our chores. Tell no one, papa said.

    FOG DANCING

    And when the low planes came

    to spray for mosquitoes,

    the townspeople danced in the fog,

    Green and gauzy as it was

    And when the babies grew crooked and raw-spined,

    they didn’t know

    which gods to blame,

    the white-walled Christ of town

    or the wild-haired gods of the swamp.

    Follow Nancy Reddy – she is a poet of note who has that gift to speak in a language apparently different than we hear – and it makes frightening sense.

  • Anne

    I love Nancy Reddy’s haunting, lyrical style.

  • Joseph

    Black Lawrence Press is known for publishing cutting-edge poetry and fiction in a style that is all thier own. Acadiana is a chapbook of poetry by Nancy Reddy. Reddy is the author of Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015), a 2014 winner of the National Poetry Series. She teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey.

    Growing up in the north the view I had of Acadiana which mostly came from popular music. “Amos Moses” and “The Legend of the Wooley Swamp” come to mind immediately. As

    Black Lawrence Press is known for publishing cutting-edge poetry and fiction in a style that is all thier own. Acadiana is a chapbook of poetry by Nancy Reddy. Reddy is the author of Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015), a 2014 winner of the National Poetry Series. She teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey.

    Growing up in the north the view I had of Acadiana which mostly came from popular music. “Amos Moses” and “The Legend of the Wooley Swamp” come to mind immediately. As an adult who migrated to Texas almost thirty years ago, I can say my most interesting travel stories are about Lousiana. Stories of Mr. Wilkes, trying to get a company car out of police impound, hand pumping gasoline, and being deep enough in the state that I could not even get AM radio in my car. There is something a different under the surface that you can catch out of the corner of your eye, sometimes.

    Although a chapbook Reddy speaks volumes to the reader. The poetry is fairly standard in format but it captures the deepest of the South in a very big way. Surface Catholicism, left over from the French, covers a deep near voodoo topsoil. The words will give a tingle to your spine by the eerieness of the words and phrasing. There is something more to the words than just the words themselves just as there is more to the region than just the land and people.

    As the red dog’s fur sends smoke skyward

    to whatever gods may still watch over us,

    I sprinkle holy water along the fence posts, place

    the blessed palms along the shuttered windows

    and above the doorframes. I make of matches a cross

    and light them quick to stop the rain.

    from “Saint Catherine Takes the Auspices”

    This is a remarkable collection poetry that is much bigger than its thirty pages. Highly recommended.

  • Jayant Kashyap

    So brutally honestly wonderful imagination. It doesn’t come so easy, so quick! What Nancy’s book has is, similarly, nothing so easy, so quick — it takes time and it stays.

    “The stories say the river held us in its mouth.

    Then the river

    shifted west again

    and we were left dry-boned and sorrowful.”

  • Bird

    A lyrical and striking collection that takes ecopoetry on a mythically inflected tour of post-Katrina Lousiana, Reddy's collection will surely resonate with anyone interested in how we use our foreknowledge - from prophecy to geoscience - to respond to climate change. Do we invite the black dog of misfortune into our lives, do we question the gods, or do we bear witness to the power of our actions, from pesticides to oil drilling, on the planet?

  • Ruth

    I like the sense of myth flowing through the poems in this chapbook. I'm always intrigued by poems that speak from a "we," a collective voice; in this collection, that voice (often female, feminine) is searching the mysteries, but not necessarily to fully make sense. I like the reveling these poems do in the unknowing.

    From "After, The Sibyls Fall Out of Words"

    "No god moves us now

    so we are wordless and unhinged,

    like the dark-ribbed maidens

    lost to the gulf."

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