Hannibal, Forklift Books (November, 2017)
Praise for Hannibal
“Hannibal surprises not only with every flip of a page and every new poem, but from line to line. This is an entirely unique voice and vision—intimate and edgy, musical and casual, funny and scary. The reader feels directly addressed, by someone familiar, but the poems are also full of startling imagery. The figurative is made even more eerie and powerful than it otherwise would be, being hidden, as it often is, within the context of an often plain-spoken directness (“Gibbous moon faint in the midday sky / forms enough of a circle to get its drift across…”). All things spare here are deceptively complex. The poems accumulate in power, and, via juxtaposition, keep the reader hungry and satisfied at the same time. There are so many experiments being successfully pursued here, so many thrilling risks being taken in this work, that one has a sense that this poet has reinvented poetry; however, this is a poet who knows her craft, has command of it, is always in conversation with the traditions of her art, while she consistently, ingeniously, is making it new. Hannibal is a wildly important and game-changing book by a poet whose sensibility brings us, through poetry, an entirely new way of seeing the world, ourselves in it, and the art of the poem.”
“Sparkling with intimacy and personal flare, Hannibal explores the commonplace with devastating directness and emotional vibrancy that is by turns restrained and bravely open. Deft, funny at the most unlikely times, unafraid of the weird, these poems are as beguiling as they are dangerous. Alcohol provided. The fuse is lit.”
Hannibal is a book of questionable choices, unintended consequences, improvised explosions, bad ideas. Confessional not confessional.
What if you wrote a book and put all the feelings you didn’t want to keep having in it? If there’s a sequel it will no doubt laugh at that fleshy hubris. Ceci n’est pas une pipe.
The title is a nod to the author’s epic namesake, Hannibal Barca, Carthaginian general, 247-182 BCE. An indisputable badass, Hannibal was said to have replied “I will either find a way, or make one” to naysayers when they declared it impossible to cross the Alps on elephants in the quest to defeat Rome. And so he did cross the Alps on elephants, winning the battle ultimately to lose the war.
Sure, there have been other Hannibals. But they too were men. This one isn’t.