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Toxic Flora
     

Toxic Flora

by Kimiko Hahn
 

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“[Kimiko] Hahn’s frankness . . . allows [these poems] to stand out as starkly fresh as the carnivorous plants she describes.”—American Poet
For Kimiko Hahn, the language and imagery of science open up magical possibilities for the poet. In her haunting eighth collection inspired by articles from the weekly “Science” section of

Overview

“[Kimiko] Hahn’s frankness . . . allows [these poems] to stand out as starkly fresh as the carnivorous plants she describes.”—American Poet
For Kimiko Hahn, the language and imagery of science open up magical possibilities for the poet. In her haunting eighth collection inspired by articles from the weekly “Science” section of the New York Times, Hahn explores identity, extinction, and survival using exotic tropes drawn from the realms of astrophysics, mycology, paleobotany, and other rarefied fields. With warmth and generosity, Hahn mines the world of science in these elegant, ardent poems.
from “On Deceit as Survival”Yet another species resembles a female bumble bee,
ending in frustrated trysts—
or appears to be two fractious males which also attracts—no surprise—
a third curious enough to join the fray.
What to make of highly evolved Beauty bent on deception as survival—

Editorial Reviews

Gerald Stern
“She is a superb lyric poet.”
Publishers Weekly
Hahn's eighth book of poems takes its inspiration from the science section of the New York Times. These sharp, gut-punching lyrics quote from and/or borrow the diction of science writing in order to investigate more personal issues, including the traumas of girlhood, adolescence, and family in general, as well as the intricacies of love. But the real thrill comes not from Hahn's personal revelations but from the ways they dovetail so surprisingly with contemporary scientific observations: "What does this demonstrate about toxins/ or residence?" she asks in the title poem, about a butterfly that has evolved poison to deter predators, "Or carrying around a portion of the childhood home// where the father instructs the daughter on the uses of poison/ then accuses her of being so potent?" Elsewhere, science illuminates wounds that can't be overcome: "the constant banging and colliding of planetoids/ creates new dust," notes Hahn (The Artist's Daughter) in "Stardust." "Fascinating," she continues, "all this debris/ circulating in our own fringes,/ giving rise to zodiacal light// and a reason for developing sharper telescopes:// the father spanking the ten-year-old/ just out of the shower// and because she already had breast buds// she didn't want anyone to look." Other poems meditate on water, the planets, and birds in what may be Hahn's best book to date. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393341140
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/03/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
124
Sales rank:
1,330,572
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Kimiko Hahn is the author of eight previous books of poetry, including, most recently, Toxic Flora. She has won an American Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Theodore Roethke Award, and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Award. She lives in New York and teaches at Queens College, City University of New York.

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