In Double Jinx, Nancy Reddy exhibits the growing pains of adolescence and young adulthood through an intensely sensual lens, twisting beloved fables and fairy tales into engrossing carnal imagery. Her style is deliciously dark, and her poems shed a harsh light on feminism, sexual abuse, and religious cruelty. Through this method, Reddy presents harsh truth. There’s something refreshing about being simultaneously disturbed and intrigued by a collection of poetry.
Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Nancy Drew all make appearances in Reddy’s imaginative poetry, engaging readers with their familiarity before morphing into poems of unsettling beauty.
“…and they knew she’d be a night-time princess
only. They found her morning after on the cobblestones,
coach and driver vanished, her dress turned back to tatters.”
“Cinderella Story” – Nancy Reddy
Double Jinx is a unique collection, though it does quickly escalate from shocking to sinister—praiseworthy to some and discomforting to others. While fearless and unpredictable, it is a point to consider if certain moments are evocative if not simply to just be evocative.
“I’d find her facedown, smudged with earth
because a man like him will do that
when he loves. I pawed her
up again, I nosed the dulcet
rot of her, the savory flesh
of thighs and ass. I saw that she
looked nothing like me, not even
in the moss and rigor mortis of her afterlife…”
“Come Fetch” – Nancy Reddy
Of all the raw poetry contained in this volume, “Double Jinx”—the same poem as the title—creates the most provocative, ominous, and thrilling riddle. Nancy Drew’s lustful and murderous doppelganger presents a precise, edgy truth regarding female sexuality and domestic abuse.
“She’s in your town now. You’re in your hair.
One quick slit and you’re in the space inside
her skin. You hold your breath then whisper.
You thumb the ligaments. You kick the tires.
You loved that dumb boy, too. Before he died.”
“Double Jinx” – Nancy Reddy
Equally haunting as it is mysterious, Double Jinx is not for the faint of heart. But for readers intrigued by the macabre and attracted to surrealism, it’s a stab into the fierce tenderness of womanhood and a seductive shadow of modern poetry.
Nancy Reddy‘s poetry has been published in 32 Poems, Tupelo Quarterly, and Best New Poets of 2011 (selected by D.A. Powell), with poems forthcoming in Post Road and New Poetry from the Midwest. She lives in Madison, where she is a doctoral candidate in composition and rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin.
About the author of this post: Deana Becker is a junior at North Central College, majoring in English with a concentration in Writing. While others lament reading through piles of submissions, Deana joyfully fulfills her position as a reader and contributor of North Central’s literary magazine, 30 North. One of her favorite genres to read is Flash Fiction.