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Not Xanadu: Poems

By author: Cathryn Hankla
Product Code: HH1022
ISBN: 9780881468328
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $22.00

Cathryn Hankla's tenth collection, NOT XANADU, confronts the recurring imprint of the past--culturally, environmentally, and personally. In innovative poems that reclaim and reinvent traditional forms, reversing haikus and truncating sonnets, Hankla's recognition of resonance and presence evolves as a runner moves through a familiarly strange landscape evoking memory without evading keen observation. The poet reminds us that things are not what they seem on the surface or at first glance, not the coal train, nor the sparrow, nor the lover, and over time even the surest meanings and interpretations shift. In these cogent, lyrical poems, Hankla invites the reader's feeling, introspection, and renewal, in acknowledging the natural world as both balm and responsibility, mysterious and fragile. A trusted seer, fellow traveler, and witness to wonders, Hankla presents the urgency of lives, human and not, at fraught intersections of place and time. What this world is not and what this world can be: Like a diving rod, her powerful poems find the living water, enter and possess you, offering rare moments of irrevocable possibility and spiritual lucidity.
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Review by: Angela Ball - December 1, 2021
This brilliant and absorbing collection of poems, Cathryn Hankla's tenth, greets us with 'not,' refusing a poetic paradise; and goes on to embrace trees, birds, stars, American history, and the ghosts of roses. Craft and feeling intensify each other throughout; especially in the Cinquain Sonnets and their lightning, rough-edged resolutions. The past is adamant. To articulate its refusals disturbs memory, muddies, and clarifies. Undeceived, mind and heart must somehow adjust. Experience stands half-built and half-demolished, vulnerable, 'Not Xanadu.' That is this book's challenge and its radiance.
Review by: Carol Moldaw - December 1, 2021
The poems in Cathryn Hankla's NOT XANADU are clear-eyed and sharp-tongued, vulnerable, unabashed, and prescient. To live in our moment, they suggest, we'd best be alert to absurdity as well as beauty, and hold close moments of reverie as well as face affronts, to know both 'the broken egg and the living bird.' A close observer of both nature and the use and misuse of language, a runner, a native Appalachian, a mindful woman, Hankla can suggest volumes in the merest phrase. These lyric and keen poems have in equal measure seriousness of purpose and lightness of touch.
Review by: Dara Wier - December 1, 2021
NOT XANADU's poems make an indispensable contribution to many subjects: despair, broken-heartedness, regret, bitterness, careful observation of one's self and what one sees, awe, hope. Hankla has written a book that lets us see why poems are written. The poem 'Considering the Alternative' shows the way.

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