Becoming the Villainess

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Becoming the Villainess
Becoming the Villainess.jpg
Author Jeannine Hall Gailey
Cover artist Michaela Eaves
Country United States
Language English
Genre Poetry
Publisher Steel Toe Books
Publication date
5 March 2006
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 96 pp
ISBN 978-0-9743264-3-6

Becoming the Villainess is a book of poetry that was written by Jeannine Hall Gailey and published by Steel Toe Books in 2006. This collection, Gailey's first, deals primarily with issues of women and power. Subjects of individual poems in the collection range from superheroes and spy girls to characters from Greek mythology, such as Philomel and Persephone, and fairy tales, such as The Snow Queen.

Poems from the book were featured on National Public Radio's The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor and in Verse Daily and The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007.

Becoming the Villainess has been taught in creative writing and mythology courses at several universities, including University of Akron, State University of New York at Fredonia,[1] and The University of Alabama.[2]

A performance art piece based on Becoming the Villainess was created by Alley Cat Players, a performance troupe from Florida. The piece was performed at both the St. Petersburg Main Library[3] and at the Selby Public Library in Sarasota, FL.[4]

Poems from Becoming the Villainess were referenced in the article Poems about Superheroes written by Harvard University professor and poetry critic Stephen Burt.[5]


Critical reviews of Becoming the Villainess have appeared in the following literary publications:[6]


  1. ^ Holtan, Elizabeth (2007-10-10). "Students gain insight from poetic heavyweights" (PDF). The Leader. State University of New York at Fredonia. Retrieved 2008-05-25. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Undergraduate Course Offerings—Fall 2008" (PDF). University of Alabama. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  3. ^ Bancroft, Colette. "Events: Alley Cat Players to present poetry-inspired Becoming the Villainess". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  4. ^ Rozen, Joel. "Cats bring a blend of artistic styles". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  5. ^ Burt, Stephen (2009). "Poems about Superheroes". Michigan Quarterly Review. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-15. 
  6. ^ "Reviews of Becoming the Villainess". Steel Toe Books. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  7. ^ Frischkorn, Suzanne (2006). "Becoming the Villainess, by Jeannine Hall Gailey, Steel Toe Books, 2006, $12.00". Diner. 6. She skillfully disarms us with her dark humor…and then goes to hit us with hard and heartbreaking truths. 
  8. ^ Krosinsky, Sari (January 2007). "Review of Jeannine Hall Gailey's Becoming the Villainess". Fickle Muses. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-25. In her debut poetry collection, Gailey recreates myths from Persephone to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, examining the victim/villain casting of mythic women with wit, grace and insight. 
  9. ^ Zeller, Maya Jewell. "Review: Becoming the Villainess". LitList. Retrieved 2008-05-26. Yet under the humor is a deep social critique, a study of gender expectations, and an aching loneliness in each persona that develops an emotional resonance that reaches the reader in a very personal way. 
  10. ^ Biddinger, Mary (July 2006). "Small Press Bookwatch: The Poetry Shelf". The Midwest Book Review. 5 (7). Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-26. Addressing the archetypes of myth, from modern pop culture to Ovid to Grimm's fairy tales, Gailey weaves words expressing the hearts of shunned, reviled, justly and unjustly treated villainesses and female victims of fable. A dramatic, moving collection; each poem has a gripping personal story to tell. 
  11. ^ Owens, James. "Jeannine Hall Gailey's Becoming the Villainess…reviewed by James Owens". The Pedestal Magazine. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  12. ^ Richards, Moira. "RATTLE e-Review: BECOMING THE VILLAINESS by Jeannine Hall Gailey". Rattle. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-26. Jeannine Hall Gailey fills her book, Becoming the Villainess, with women—real women, fictional women, mythical women and comic book superwomen who of course, are often real women too. 
  13. ^ Moni, Natasha Kochicheril (Winter 2006). "Becoming the Villainess by Jeannine Hall Gailey". Rattle. 12 (26). Gailey favors the narrative, each poem a story recounted with flair. She doesn't veer from difficult matters; in fact, her work exhibits it, visiting violence so often it earns its title with passion and often a dark sense of humor. 
  14. ^ Lockward, Diane (April 2007). "A Pajama Party for Feminists". Review Revue. 4 (1): 18–19. Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Becoming the Villainess is the poetic equivalent of a pajama party for feminists. Gossip, secrets, and advice are exchanged, along with lots of talk about guys. The party list brings together an eclectic, sometimes dangerous, but always exciting mix of female characters drawn from diverse sources. 
  15. ^ Biddinger, Mary (2007). "Rhino Reads: Becoming the Villainess". Rhino: 157–158. While some poets might limit their audience by including characters as diverse as Leda, Philomel, and Wonder Woman, the poems in this book witness the universal, as even the legendary Ophelia is told to, “Stop crouching in shadows, chewing your hair.” Many of the characters in Becoming the Villainess are archetypal, yet in the world of the book they are as real as a next-door neighbor, and far more interesting. 

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