Daughter of the Hangnail (First Book)

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9780932826572: Daughter of the Hangnail (First Book)
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Daughter of the Hangnail, winner of the 1998 Norma Farber First Book Award by the Poetry Society of America. Judge Ann Lauterbach's citation: Good poetry is never about categories like "first" or "woman" or "youth." So: for the variety of its interests and sources, for the musicality of its lines, the clarity and diversity of its diction and for the high value it places on the idea of poetry, I chose Rebecca Reynolds' Daughter of the Hangnail for this prize.

In her daring first book, Rebecca Reynolds kindles ordinary moments into signal flares of ecstasy--"flourescent funk from the stars" (32). Her alchemy is the insomniac's synesthesia, those quiet shifts in perpective--sight sliding into touch, sound echoing into vision--that mark the edge of sleep, where we "inhale onyx," wake to "liquid sheets" and "touch the red fizzle of morning" (46,37,53). By confusing the senses, these poems paradoxically achieve a sudden clearness, charting with precision a body that yearns to be "flinging identity in a dark curve through the peripheral trees" (29). In an afflicted world in which bodies have become "mere reverberations" (49), these poems ask us to imagine the reverse--the self as a mere reverberation or description of the body. A lucid but lyrical theorist of the emotions, Reynolds unflinchingly confronts the sensuous condition of being alone, and especially the common loneliness of women. The dazzling experiment of these poems is to trabsform a sometimes ravishing loneliness into "new hypotheses of permanence and home" (37). Despite their thorough investigation of the word "alone," Reynolds' poems beckon "Outside"--even to the reader in her armchair--achkowledging "your beauty, the singing birds in their armchair of song" (50). Read this book if you can welcome "the disturbances, especially joy" (49).

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From the Publisher:

Daughter of the Hangnail is the winner of the 1998 Norma Farber First Book Award by the Poetry Society of America. Judge Anne Lauterbach's citation reads, "Good poetry is never about categories like 'first' or 'woman' or 'youth.' So - for the variety of its interests and sources, for the musicality of its lines, the clarity and diversity of its diction and for the high value it places on the idea of poetry, I chose Rebecca Reynolds' Daughter of the Hangnail for this prize."

Daughter of the Hangnail is also a winner of a Small Press Editor's Choice Award for 1998.

About the Author:

REBECCA REYNOLDS was born and grew up in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from Vasser College, an M.A. in English from Rutgers University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. She has been the recipient of a Hopwood Award, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts grant, and the 1998 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America for Daughter of the Hangnail (New Issues, 1997). She teaches creative writing at Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University, and is an Assistant Dean for Academic Services.

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