"Stacy Gnall's brilliant debut collection, Heart First into the Forest, explores those timeless yet inexplicable mysteries of worldly (and other-worldly) transformations we know from fable and fairy tale. With her exquisite lyric delicacy, Stacy Gnall weaves a candid, luminous perspective that reveals a forest whose intricate darkness can be lit, of course, only by the heart."—David St. John
This debut collection wanders into the dark, enchanted territory of childhood fables. Poems are parables peopled with archetypes, birthing a world of spells and curses, of daughters betrayed by their own blood, of children vanishing in the woods, and, through it all, a singular heroine gradually emerging to triumph—her mind a butcher's block, her feet sprinting toward the twist.
From "Self-portrait as Thousandfurs":
when the bet proved not too broad
for you, and before me, the cloak held
open as a boast, to have slipped into that
primitive skin, made out towards
another sort of prowling around.
To have turned my how how into a howl.
To have picked up my heavy hem and run.
With decadent fairy-tale rhetoric, wild child Stacy Gnall depicts a harrowing coming of age, luring us to indulge our anima.
Stacy Gnall is from Cleveland, Ohio. She earned her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA at the University of Alabama, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Florida Review, The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She lives in Los Angeles, California.