When I began reading Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell, I was immediately reminded of a quote by Wallace Stevens: “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” I love poems and stories which tell us what we should already know about the world and that is the fact that in reality we still know so little. Stories which hint and tease at the worlds within our own, of places and people and legends hidden from view perhaps, but visible to those who can see and this is exactly what this collection does. Each story and poem is based upon a character created by Caitlin for a novel yet to be written. A character that haunted her despite, or perhaps in spite of, never being fully formed on paper. They are the glimpses into this story which had to be written and combined into the collection, they give the reader just enough of a hint of what Oriana and her fantastical tale may be, in order to feel compelled to know more.
The collection features several poems and short stories, all about Oriana and her as yet unwritten biography. Stand outs for me were, ‘Oriana/Weaver of Fate’ a poem reminiscent of Greek mythology and ‘Oriana’s Cottage’ a short story depicting a meeting between a mortal and Oriana, glimpsing into her world of magic before returning to the mortal realm. Whilst I enjoyed all of the writing separately and as stand alone pieces, they fit together to form a partial image of this mysterious character which enchants and inspires and it is through this collection of individual pieces, through them flowing from one to the other, that the picture becomes clearer and more fully formed. I for one would love to read Oriana’s story in all of it’s glory now that my appetite has been wetted.
I was honoured to receive an ARC copy of Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell in exchange for a fair and honest review.