Nancy Reddy

Nancy Reddy (Poetry) | Ventnor, NJ

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Nancy Reddy is the author of Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015), selected by Alex Lemon for the 2014 National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Tupelo Quarterly, 32 Poems, Smartish Pace, Best New Poets, Best of the Net, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric and an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the founding Reviews and Interviews Editor of Devil’s Lake. As Assistant Professor of Writing and First Year Studies at Stockton University in southern New Jersey, she teaches courses in composition, research, and creative writing.


Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015). National Poetry Series.
Double Jinx (Milkweed Editions, 2015). National Poetry Series.

Press & Reviews

Double Jinx is a stunning and vital debut collection. Nancy Reddy is a live wire who uses a knife-tip focus and intellect to filigree, with raw exactitude, issues of femininity and the domestic. To show the brutality of being the girl not chosen by the boy, as well as the cruelty that comes with being the girl who is chosen. Reddy’s range—the familial, fairy tale, myth and theology, popular culture—allow her poems to unravel and embody the seething mystery, the metamorphosis, the often inherent violence in womanhood. Double Jinx swirls luminously through genealogy, the dark gifts of a mother and absent father, a grandmother “who wrapped the boys in rugs and propped them up / before the fire,” Little Red Riding Hood, Nancy Drew, Lucy the missing link, or the servitude here that comes with being “the girl you love / and not the runner up” in “Miss Small Town USA,” who, after it is returned from the cleaners, hangs up her body “with the winter coats, between the fox fur & the camel hair.” The undercurrent of Double Jinx is darkness, payback. Palpable with disquiet, the absolute clarity of these poems will haunt the reader. Double Jinx is a brilliant first book, profound and fierce.”
Alex Lemon, author of The Wish Book

“Nancy Reddy’s Double Jinx is an absolute delight. With enormous imaginative energy, this book offers “a chorus of girls,” from daughter to sister to wife, from Nancy Drew to the girls in fairy tales, to a beauty queen, to a girl who lives in a terrarium. A genealogy of girlhood, Reddy’s book has the power to enchant just as it unsettles. As the speaker of “Bad Magic” tells us, “I’ll be the girl / you practice on, I’ll let you / pull a nest of ravens from my hair / then saw me open on your mother’s couch.” This is an exhilarating, beautiful book.”
Nicole Cooley

“Nancy Reddy’s exquisitely crafted poems perform an exploration of woman’s manifold selves. Using the conceit of the stage, intimate spaces—family, home, the love letter—are lit “bright as a spotlight” by the poet’s eye, compelling us to examine questions of self-identity, desire, and escape. Double Jinx is a book that holds its audience spellbound.”
Rebecca Dunham

Double Jinx is a sprawling landscape shaped and reshaped by unpredictable and uncontrollable forces—namely violence, desire—as if the poems, like the speakers in “Fire Plan,” were “shapes made by weather,” composed of voices “limb-stripped” and “harrowed” by wind. At the same time, the book tempers its storms with darkly tender and nostalgic moments—“soda fizzles in Dixie cup rows” at a children’s party, a speaker is Nancy Drew “on the trail of a breathtaking escape”—revealing a human world in which docility wrestles with ferocity, in which each person wears many masks and costumes because performance is a means of survival. Soon the domestic and the wild become indistinguishable. Reddy is the most deft of magicians. She’ll “have your heart,” and, “before the curtain falls,” she’ll “pluck it from your chest/ like a rabbit from a hat.”
Sara Eliza Johnson

“Cross your fingers. Pitch a pinch of salt over your left shoulder. Hedge your bets. Nancy Reddy’s debut collection, Double Jinx, is provocative and devilishly clever. Here, the shadows seduce. In these poems, myth, faith and fantasy are turned inside out, shaping a girlhood full of hunger and restraint. We know poetry, first, through the body, and Reddy masterfully crafts a world where the senses instruct and sometimes betray. This book is beautiful, fearless, and urgent.“
Amaud Jamaul Johnson

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