The Sealey Challenge: Brood

Kimiko Hahn's BROOD in front of yellow flowers & sunset.

Kimiko Hahn’s Brood is poetry of the small things, the quotidian, workaday bits and pieces of life, given weight and elegance and even grandeur through Hahn’s words.

Sarabande, the publishing house behind the Quarternote Chapbook Series, notes loss as a thread throughout Brood and, to be sure, loss is here, on every side and in nearly every poem—time, and decay, and death, and alienation. But Brood carries life, too: life in those clothes pins, in that midnight quest for water, in the memories that trip and tumble up in every poem.

Loss twines with life, sometimes tender, sometimes carrying the edges of old anger and still-untamed grief. It’s as much quotidian poetry as is Heather McHugh’s Feeler—though, unlike Feeler, there is no real feeling of fear at changes, only that encompassing tenderness—a tenderness which allows space not only for the shades of the past but for the present as well.

It’s almost strange, reading Brood in this time of plague: there are no large family picnics now, no casual touching of hands. Perhaps this strange time gives Hahn’s Brood more grace and tenderness than it might have had, otherwise—but it comes naturally by both, as Hahn gives weight and grandeur and elegance to her subjects, and turns that tenderness to her words and to her readers.

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