The Artist's Daughter: Poems

The Artist's Daughter: Poems

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by Kimiko Hahn

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"Kimiko Hahn stands as a welcome voice of experimentation and passion."—Bloomsbury ReviewSee more details below


"Kimiko Hahn stands as a welcome voice of experimentation and passion."—Bloomsbury Review

Editorial Reviews

“Love and betrayal, hatred and fidelity all combine in these poems which take us into the dark woods of our own psyche.”
Bloomsbury Review
A welcome voice of experimentation and passion.
Publishers Weekly
The titular poet-daughter of this sixth volume dwells in a dark, sexually fervent, phantasmagoric world inspired by Germanic fairy tales. Oozing rivers, bloody cages and the artist's studio decorated "in half a dozen versions of black" are ruled over by the precepts of Freud and Jung via modern sadomasochistic imagery: "if he turns his gaze, she will beat him bloody until there is nothing left but a pile of teeth. She will hold a mirror in front of herself so all he can see are her fingertips and crown." Notes on dismemberment and bits from Gray's Anatomy are the basis for mordant rewritings of classic tales from the Brothers Grimm; in a daughter's hands, Freud's unheimlich is the slip between an ideal of motherhood, and the reality: "I understand... the stepmother in the cross-hatched woods/ abandoning the children." An odd poem-by-poem reclamation of power takes place via the recitation of sexual taboos from incest to necrophilia, and (as in Hahn's previous collection, Mosquito and Ant) poems that linger over the death of the poet's mother. Much of the book's descriptive vocabulary deploys post-structuralist theoretical constructs: the other, mirroring, "Unbecoming, a desperate homesickness/ even at home. " Self-conscious, grave and saturated with anger, this book tracks a distinctly gendered attempt to break through the emotional tether of bereavement and the irritant of social mores. If it doesn't quite succeed, it is nevertheless a primal scene of familial power. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Necrophilia, cannibalism, vivisection, and dismemberment dominate Hahn's sixth collection (after Mosquito & Ant), whose references include an abnormal psychology text and Gray's Anatomy. Almost as an aside, the title poem takes place not in the graveyard or the pervert's study but in the artist's studio, another place where the libido and the mind intersect. Here, a woman who associates the smell of paint solvents with her childhood is turned on during sex by the smell of turpentine: "She knows the truth about history/ is not some fact but an image/ teased from nerve endings." Hahn's attempts to evoke the primal period of childhood are apt to end in choppy, fragmented lines. But she is also capable of music and the shapely statement: "Once in its life the yucca moth alights/ on the yucca flower which blooms a single evening." The poems move from Asia to the U.S. Midwest (where Hahn grew up) to grungy, pregentrified New York, expressing the unease of a woman frustrated and confined by categories. And if there is something forced in the poet's attempt to connect her love relationships with the obsessions of Jeffery Dahmer & Co., there are also some telling parallels. Recommended.-Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine LLP Law Lib., New York Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.40(d)

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