The Supposed Huntsman
Author: Katie Fowley
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2021)
In her debut full-length collection of poems, The Supposed Huntsman, Fowley creates spaces that blur the lines of gender, species, and self: “Every animal is deadly / even the shape-shifter.” Fowley uses incantatory anaphora to enact endless transformations, becoming by turns a motley, plume-lit teacher-creature and a bear longing, like a bro, for a maiden in a tree. Drawing inspiration from Brothers Grimm fairy tales and troubadour tradition, Fowley’s poems elate and interrogate, ever aware that “childhood is so intensely serious.”
"How does one advance on Katie Fowley's The Supposed Huntsman? By praise for a way of advancing called supposing that comes preternaturally to the most tender and lush of poetic guides, that is, The Supposed Huntsman. Supposing is an act of the whole body taking the whole body—taking one's place—with a flirt of hesitation. "Suppose I am a huntsman. / Suppose I am possessed by a lion. / Suppose I am rude and disoriented at my wedding." Fowley's flicker of only "supposing" what she is or might be, is devotion, daring and doubting at its most human and wise—like a fool sliding off of Shakespeare's tongue, over and over, to love this world—because the sufferings are enormous, because of the enormous integrity and grace required to enrhythm and incorporate all its peacock-plumed and plucked forms, all its terrible ripples of compassion—the endless buts and rebuttals of the mind contradicting—Dance, damn dust!—and all that it takes to resound, through and through, with the conviction Fowley does—We'll make it lush."
"There’s a hint of Scottish border ballad tradition in Katie Fowley’s poetry—it’s sexy, provocative, haunting, and written with an insistence we need to dance, preferably unclothed and accompanied by other creatures. Her work foments a revolution against the constructed borders we too often accept as real. It’s a subtle joyful revolution, balanced between the poles of imagination and techne, a place to wander, to get lost, and to stay lost, happily."