Woods Wolf Girl – Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Free Press Book Review


In Cornelia Hoogland’s fifth collection, Woods Wolf Girl (Wolsak and Wynn, 96 pages, $17), fable and fact, woodsman and wolf, and mother and daughter are hauntingly entangled in the retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale.

In this London, Ont., poet’s work, myth and personal history are at times so snug it is no longer relevant to separate the two: “(I know this is a dream, / but whose dream?)” and later “Your tongue, Mother/my mouth.”

Brilliant and stark, Hoogland’s poems are an imagistic treat, green as tadpoles in a pickle jar, red as “rain the shade of lips by Chanel.”

This is not a simple tale Hoogland tells. She heads to the darkest woods where the “rainforest slides down its zipper,” the frog never becomes a prince and the wolf is both feared and desired. In Hoogland’s forest, subservience and shame are a rite of passage: “We crave the thunderbolt, cosmic change.”


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