Book Review · Poetry

“The Ease of Wind-Filled Wings”: A Review of Luanne Castle’s Rooted and Winged #poetry #bookreview

I always review a book of poetry with some anxiety and exhilaration; anxiety because poetry is in the eye (ear/mind) of the beholder, and exhilaration because poetry is in the eye (ear/mind) of the beholder. I’d argue that I don’t know what “good” poetry is, only that if I like it, I like it. That’s the anxiety part, the sense of feeling like an impostor for reviewing work for which I have no expertise. But what I find exhilarating about reviewing poetry is that sense of discovery as I consider the language of the poems, the images and the feelings provoked by the poems. 

And so … I approach my review of Luanne Castle’s latest poetry collection–Rooted and Winged–with both anxiety and exhilaration. Let’s put aside my anxiety … no, wait … let me address my anxiety briefly because it is important.

For a long time after I received this lovely volume, I couldn’t read past the first poem, “Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill.” It was the anxiety of self-recognition. This poem immediately stirred memories of myself at various stages of life, scribbling away in a notebook in a feverish worry that, without a record, I wouldn’t exist.

Without a record, will I hear the ice crashing 
into the sink, the Dodger talk at the bar 
at the end of the room under the Miller Lite 
neon confident and beckoning?

Of both of us, our mothers would say, “In one ear and out the other.” Yet, with Castle, the words flow in and swirl around and busy her mind and set up shop, with no intentions of leaving her head anytime soon. Further into the poem, she writes, “I will never / capture the ease of wind-filled wings.” Oh, how wrong she is there. Although this is the first poem in the book, I’m already lifted into flight. 

Now for my exhilaration in reading these poems.

How can a poem do so many things:

–“Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill”

How can poems lift one into flight but also root one into the earth? Castle’s poetry does just that. She intersperses poems of her familial history and memories …

Even before us, they plowed fields
and sewed leather onto soles, their lives
spun from the loom beneath them.


… with poems of furred and feathered visitors to her home, where she is rooted …

But I remember hawks heavy-winged above me, 
the gliding and patterns and power in the sky.
To catch her without flight is the catastrophe.

–“Without Flight”

I soar as I read these poems, yet I also feel grounded, recognizing that while I am of the earth, I’d give a lot to fly with the birds.

We could puff into the blue like clouds.
Why hasn’t one of us learned to fly?
What keeps us pointed downward?


And yet … 

Even birds and bats fall to earth when
they die

–“The Purpose of Earth”

Eventually, we are all–furred, feathered, and naked creatures–part of the earth. We are all rooted, even if some of us are winged and can soar. And with these poems by Luanne Castle, we can all  enjoy “the ease of wind-filled wings.” 

To read more reviews of Rooted and Winged and to learn more about Luanne Castle, please click on this link: The Rooted and Winged Blog Tour Links.

You can purchase a copy at Bookshop (which supports independent bookstores) and Amazon (which does not support independent bookstores … just sayin’).


20 thoughts on ““The Ease of Wind-Filled Wings”: A Review of Luanne Castle’s Rooted and Winged #poetry #bookreview

  1. I was very surprised to read your first paragraph. I approach writing poetry reviews with the same trepidation! I feel the lack of formal training in the craft of poetry, but as I reread the poems and start to jot down my thoughts, I’m exhilerated by the insights I discover.

    Congratulations to Luanne on your excellent review. “Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill” blew me away as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Like you and Liz, I feel anxious writing poetry reviews–or any review for that matter.
    BUT–this is perfect, Marie. It’s a wonderful review!

    (I have a stack of reviews to write. . .)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marie, what a wonderful review! I love the way you structured it because I felt as if I was being given my book to read with fresh eyes. I don’t know why WordPress won’t let me reblog. It offers up my other blogs (which I am not currently writing on–genealogy and adoption blogs), but not Writer Site. Maddening. But I posted the link to your post. Thank you so much!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Luanne! I’m a little confused by WP now. I thought I had “turned off” the ability to reblog, but when I got here (to my WP dashboard), I found your attempt at reblogging waiting for my approval. Oh, well. The important thing is you enjoyed the review! Yay!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s on my end too because I couldn’t reblog Sheila or Jade’s posts somewhat recently either. It will let me (presumably) reblog to The Family Kalamazoo, for instance, but not Writer Site.
        Yes, I LOVE the review. Thank you so much! And thank you for putting it on Amazon and Goodreads!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s funny to read that everyone is feeling incapable of giving an informed review of poetry. I feel the same way. But I thought about it, and the part that is so hard about a review of poetry is to critique the mechanics of the writing, and whether this or that is done properly. I don’t think we need to worry about that at all. To me, it seems that poetry is more about how it makes us feel when we read it. If it is thought provoking or makes us feel any sort of emotion, it is well done. Luanne has a way of taking us to the scene and making us FEEL. That’s enough for me.

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  5. I see that many people feel the way I feel: that I don’t know enough about poetry to give an informed review of it. 😄 But I know a number of poets and am glad to see their work celebrated. So congrats to Luanne!

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