Field Guide to the End of the World
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Moon City Press
Sept. 1, 2016
Review by Brian James Lewis
With its excellent cover art and survivalist look, one might mistake Field Guide to the End of the World as an instruction manual for the day that horrible event comes to pass. In a way, they’d be right. Writing poetry helps us to cope with a lot of pretty awful stuff. It also celebrates life and living it. Jeannine Hall Gailey uses her poetry to do all of that and makes more than a few social comments along the way.
For those who truly wish to survive the apocalypse, you might want to be-bop on down to your local extreme survivalist store for necessities. Just don’t forget to pack this book to keep you from going insane in your underground bunker while waiting for the “all clear” signal! You will definitely enjoy Martha Stewart’s Guide to Apocalypse Living featuring the line “Now’s the time to get out your hurricane lamps! They create a lovely glow in these last days.” Also remember that, Zombie Stripper Clones: They Are Not Regenerating.
In the Cultural Anthropology section of her book, there is an interesting re-take on Dorothy, the wizard, and the Land of Oz. It makes her much more modern and flawed. There is also an Introduction to Teen Girl Vampires that pairs real issues with the super powers of the undead. Even when Gailey is using scientific terms, the humanity comes bursting through. This fine book of poetry never feels cold or loses the reader. Sometimes we might have to follow markings made on dead trees, but we’re included and encouraged to take a good hard look at ourselves along the way.
Jeannine Hall Gailey is a member of the HWA and the SFPA. She’s also been the poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, and is the author of four other books. Jeannine has been featured in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Verse Daily, and on National Public Radio. Despite MS trying to ruin her life, this amazing poet pushes it back with the power of writing and the love of reading. You can follow her on Twitter and her website: http://www.webbish6.com
When I read this book, it felt like home. This is not silly, greeting card poetry. It is sturdy stuff that grabs your attention and pokes you in the face. The horror of trying to continue on when everything is broken and the sci-fi usage of electromagnetic and DNA is a great mix. I really enjoyed this book and definitely encourage all of you to buy a copy if possible. Field Guide to the End of the World is a great read that you can sip a few poems from daily and let them roll around in your mind like fine wine. It’s also a nice bridge to our darker world for people that are unsure. All the elements we like are in there, Jeannine Hall Gailey just takes them uptown.