Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 68 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle, on tour with Poetic Book Tours, speaks to the human condition, a need for feeling rooted to a home and the need to expand our wings and fly beyond what we’ve known and experienced. The tension of this is felt throughout the collection, but as the poems evolve there’s a sense that both things are possible even if we stay rooted in our families and communities.

One of my favorites in this collection is “How to Create a Family Myth” in which a grandfather seems like he’s larger than life building cities, but in truth, the narrator who looks like her great-grandmother is fascinated by a story in which she takes a whip from a man who is beating a horse and whips him. I love that there’s this magical quality of traveling through time to see this young, brave woman empathizing with the pain of the horse and teaching a man what it is like to be beaten. So many wider implications of this bravery, and how we all wish to be that brave in our convictions.

Birds are prominent as are the poet’s family members. The narrator is building her nest with these twigs of stories and she’s holding those ancestors close, even though many have flown away in death. Like these birds the saguaro is mentioned multiple times, and in reading these poems the candelabra shaped, tree-like cactus (mostly found in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert) is symbolic. It can be prickly, but it bears a sweet fruit, and isn’t that what family and family stories and memories are — bittersweet.

In “Why We Wait for Rain,” the poet says, “We wait to run through wet branches and shake/drops from our shoulders, caught/in the sharp unmistakable fragrance//wanting it to pool inside us in reservoir.” When looking back on the past, we can feel the joy of those moments running through rain with siblings or friends, but as life has moved forward, those memories also can be sad because they are in the past and perhaps we have lost touch with those we loved or they have passed away, or their loss is from some argument.

Whatever the loss may stem from, it doesn’t matter because our memories of them always speak to us from the deep well of our emotion. “if I haul memory from this grave/the transmigration into pulp continues” (“Into Pulp”, pg. 27)

Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle is a gorgeous collection rooted in the Arizona desert and the past, but it also takes flight on the wings of memory and hope. Don’t miss this collection.

RATING: Cinquain

OTHER Reviews:

About the Poet:

Luanne Castle’s new poetry collection is Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line Press). Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God (Aldrich), won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, Tipton Poetry Review, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Saranac Review, Grist, and other journals.


  1. Wonderful review of Luanne’s poetry. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Congratulations to Luanne on the wonderful review! I have my copy of Rooted and Winged and look foward to reading it.

  3. Wonderful review! I have a copy of Luanne’s book and am savoring each poem.

  4. Millicent Borges Accardi says

    I love the description of the reviewer:
    Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle is a gorgeous collection rooted in the Arizona desert and the past, but it also takes flight on the wings of memory and hope. Don’t miss this collection.” The essence of a poet having roots AND wings–

  5. This volume’s theme seems to be a little bit similar to the theme of Mervyn Taylor’s Country of Warm Snow, with the tension between home and other places a person wants to go. I’ll have to read it and compare!


  1. […] Rooted and Winged by Luanne Castle Two of the poems in Rooted and Winged are based on Sylvia Plath poems. This is what my Plath Collected Poems looks like after all these years. […]