Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pg. 69: Susan Hahn's "The Scarlet Ibis"

Today at the Page 69 Test: Susan Hahn's The Scarlet Ibis.

About the poetry collection, from the publisher:
In The Scarlet Ibis, Susan Hahn has created an intricately structured sequence of interlinked poems centered around the single compelling image of the ibis. The resonance of this image grows through each section of the book as Hahn skillfully employs theme and variation, counterpoint and mirroring techniques. The ibis first appears as part of an illusion, the disappearing object in a magician's trick, which then evokes the greatest disappearing act of all-death-where there are no tricks to bring about a reappearance. The rich complexity multiplies as the second section focuses on a disappearing lady and a dramatic final section brings together the bird and the lady in their common plight-both caged by their mortality, their assigned time and role. All of the illusions fall away during this brilliant denouement as the two voices share a dialogue on the power of metaphor as the very essence of poetry.
Among the early praise for The Scarlet Ibis:
"The sense of line is effortless, never forced, and the images come from deep in the imagination. Nothing in these poems is predictable and yet within the context of the poetic world that Hahn has created all is lucidly clear."
--Stuart Dybek

"Hahn's lustrous and spiky poems radiate from a thematic nucleus in her distinctive collections . ... [Her] quicksilver poem-play is brilliant in its misdirection, camouflaging with plumage and word magic great depths of feeling and insight."
--Booklist, starred review

"This new work by TriQuarterly editor Hahn begins and ends in the womb, its subject being the human body and its 'interior music.' By employing her musically gifted ear in various rhythmical ways, resulting in lines like 'The cradle understands its own/determination. The Heart/... forms its thump,/thump, thump announcement.' The music of such lines is so unpredictable and intense that it becomes almost the poem's meaning."
--Library Journal
Susan Hahn is a poet, playwright and the editor of TriQuarterly literary magazine. She has published six other volumes of poetry: Harriet Rubin’s Mother’s Wooden Hand (1991), Incontinence (1993), Confession (1997), Holiday (2001), Mother In Summer (2002), and Self/Pity.

The Page 69 Test: Susan Hahn's The Scarlet Ibis.

--Marshal Zeringue