Literally could not put this down. Once I began, I needed to finish. The Lumberjack's Dove reads like a choose your own adventure folktale that is not any of that, there is no choice. This is a story told over and over.
After having his hand chopped off by his beloved axe, readers follow the Lumberjack in his mission to reattach his hand that has become a dove. We meditate on what it means to reattach ourselves to things that want to be free, things that have been cut off by the objects/people we love most. How can we still find ourselves attracted to danger, still want to feel ourselves hold it in our hands again after such hurt?
Breathtaking, this national poetry series winner left me sobbing, left me thinking about different types of loss and the ways in which it transforms us.
From the publisher:
“A boldly original and visceral debut collection from the winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series Competition, selected by Louise Gluck
In the ingenious and vividly imagined narrative poem The Lumberjack’s Dove, GennaRose Nethercott describes a lumberjack who cuts his hand off with an axe—however, instead of merely being severed, the hand shapeshifts into a dove. Far from representing just an event of pain and loss in the body, this incident spirals outward to explore countless facets of being human, prompting profound reflections on sacrifice and longing, time and memory, and—finally—considering the act of storytelling itself. The lumberjack, his hand, and the axe that separated the two all become participants in the story, with unique perspectives to share and lessons to impart. “I taught your fathers how to love,” Axe says to the acorns and leaves around her. “I mean to be felled, sliced to lumber, & reassembled into a new body.”
Inflected with the uncanny enchantment of modern folklore and animated by the sly shifting of points-of-view, The Lumberjack’s Dove is wise, richly textured poetry from a boundlessly creative new voice.”