poetry collections...

April 8, 2006


Steel Toe Books Releases Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Book, Becoming the Villainess

Bowling Green, KY—Jeannine Hall Gailey’s poetry will unleash anyone’s inner “Bad Girl”

Alternately funny, violent, wicked, and sad, Gailey presents mythic archetypes in a surprising new light against a backdrop of pop culture, Ovid, Grimm’s fairy tales, and the struggles of contemporary women, in surprisingly refreshing poems like “When Red Becomes the Wolf” and the title poem, “Becoming the Villainess.” A strong follow-up to her chapbook Female Comic Book Superheroes (Pudding House Press 2005), in Becoming the Villainess “Gailey writes with a voice full of wit and charm that keeps the reader somewhat off balance,” declares Colleen McElroy, winner of the American Book Award, professor at the University of Washington, and editor of The Seattle Review. “She serves a dish of fairy tales and myths, part vixen and part Carol Burnett. Hers is an edginess that makes new those tales with which we are familiar.”

Steel Toe Books selected Becoming the Villainess as its first solicited manuscript. We at Steel Toe Books concur with Ilya Kaminsky, winner of the prestigious Whiting Writer's Award and the Dorset Prize, when he states that “in this splendidly entertaining debut, Jeannine Hall Gailey offers us a world both familiar and magical.... The wild and seductive energy in this collection never lets one put the book down... Her delivery is heart-breaking and refreshing, so the poems seduce us with the sadness, glory and entertainment of our very own days. Propelled by Jeannine Hall Gailey’s alert, sensuous and musical gifts, the mythology becomes our own.”

Gailey, who earned an MA in English at the University of Cincinnati and is pursuing her MFA at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, is a master at weaving her pop-culture poems, such as “Spy Girls” and “Amazon Women on the Moon,” with classical myth and fairy tales, in poems like “Cinderella at the Car Dealership” and “Playing Softball With Persephone,” that in the words of Dorianne Laux “give dimension to the powerful (and powerless) female heroes of myth and comic books that struggle against the stereotype and silence.” Here’s an excerpt from Gailey’s Pushcart Prize-nominated poem “Wonder Woman Dreams of the Amazon”:

…My daily transformation
from prim kitten-bowed suit to bustier

with red-white-and-blue stars
is less disturbing. The invisible jet
makes for clean escapes.

The animals are my spies and allies;
inexplicably, snow-feathered doves
appear in my hands. I capture Nazis

and Martians with boomerang grace.
When I turn and turn, the music plays louder,
the glow around me burns white-hot,

I become everything I was born to be,
the dreams of the mother,
the threat of the father.

Gailey’s poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Columbia Poetry Review, Verse Daily, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, and 32 Poems, among others. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband.

To order a review copy, contact Tom C. Hunley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For more information about Steel Toe Books, visit www.steeltoebooks.com.
For more information about Jeannine Hall Gailey, visit www.webbish6.com/poetry.htm.

October 30, 2017

We are pleased to announce Steel Toe Books' most recent release, Street Calligraphy by Jim Daniels. Steel Toe Books acquired this title for publication in 2016.

Jim Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English at Caregie Mellon University, where he has been teaching creative writing since 1981. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry as well as numerous short stories and screenplays and the editor of multiple anthologies of poetry. His work has been featured in The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Poetry 180 with Billy Collins, and the American Life in Poetry series.

Street Calligraphy is, as poet Afaa M. Weaver says, "an honest and well-honed collection that will bring light to the lives it celebrates, our own." Aimee Nezhukumatathil calls these poems "moving and unflinching poems--brutal and brave." Daniels, a Detroit native, explores the city of the American Midwest, its concrete, factories, and graffiti: nostalgic, but not sentimental. "We never saw stars/above Detroit," he writes, "so why even look up?"

Street Calligraphy, will be available for purchase November 1, 2017, through Steel Toe Books (place an order here) and Amazon. For more information about Street Calligraphy or other Steel Toe releases, please view our titles here.

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