Longing Distance

by Sarah Hannah

$16.95

“This is an extremely moving work. I’m struck by her intelligence of emotion, and her unmistakable voice. These poems are at once determined, vulnerable, and fierce; she looks it all straight in the eye. Shadow and lover beware: these poems will fix you. Sarah Hannah is a true original. I love this book.” —Annie Dillard

Format: paperback

ISBN: 978-1-932195-11-8 Categories: , Tag:

“This is an extremely moving work. I’m struck by her intelligence of emotion, and her unmistakable voice. These poems are at once determined, vulnerable, and fierce; she looks it all straight in the eye. Shadow and lover beware: these poems will fix you. Sarah Hannah is a true original. I love this book.” —Annie Dillard

“The distance of longing, the proximity of oblivion: the motives that animate these poems are the contours of perception in a mortal coil. Sarah Hannah is a physiologist of sight, devoutest scribe to the almost-seen, the intimated world, even, or especially, as that world is about to be lost. She is also a worker of wonders. See how, in her hands, the sonnet becomes an instrument of twenty-first-century meditation. See how the fish in the marketplace “in greens and ices swimming” suddenly brings to life again the “river lined with briars.”—Linda Gregerson

“Sarah Hannah’s poems are subtly alive to the many ways the natural world interpenetrates and informs and interprets human experience. But what impresses me most about them is their engagement with language itself—words and the forms they assume—as the link between us and the circumambient universe. Her work says something at once new and very old, and something we badly need to hear.” —James Olney

“Astronomy, Renaissance literature, mythology, music, a love of wit and verbal play combined with a passion for form and scholarship resonate in this lively collection of poems that marks Sarah Hannah’s exciting debut. Whether she is negotiating Sapphics, syllabics, or sonnets, or contemplating “the unperceived persistence/in the backward space of things…” her skills fall gracefully under her sure and delicate control. This is a stunning first book.”—Colette Inez

Cassetta Frame (Italy, circa 1600)
Robert Lehmann Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I wonder what his hands were like—skin,
Thumbprint’s orbits, half moon of the nail—
The artisan who plied bough and alloy, chisel,
Stone, for the sake of circumscription:
Poplar, walnut, ebony, pear, niello,
Crystal, lapis. The words abscond from wood
And bloom in trees: Pioppo tremulo;
Forma di pera. I confess to find
Myself astonished by outskirts of things:
Hem and shirr, ice storm, sea coast, shadow, fringe,
To find myself forsworn to the mixture,
Poplar, walnut, ebony, pear,
Niello, crystal, lapis. Lapse! No life
But in the rim; no word but on the lips.

Note: The materials used in the frame were typed out on a small index card beneath the frame on display.

 

The Colors Are Off This Season

I don’t want any more of this mumble—
Orange fireside hues,
Fading sun, autumnal tumble,
Stricken, inimitable—Rose.

I want Pink, unthinking, true.
Foam pink, cream and coddle,
Miniskirt, Lolita, pompom, tutu,
Milkshake. Pink without the mottle

Or the dying fall. Pink adored, a thrall
So pale it’s practically white.
A tinted room beneath a gable—
Ice pink, powder, feather-light—

Untried corner of the treble.
I want the lift, not the lower.
Bloodless pink stalled at girl,
No weight, no care, no hour.

 

Marble Hill

You’ve missed the train—
The birds care nothing about it.
In the brush, in the eaves of rock
Yellow moths wink like paper.
You’ve missed the train,
A perfect miss; it snaked by slowly
As you stumbled down the steps from the subway overpass.
Starlings rattle in the brush.
A dayliner passes, puffing clouds in silence.
Maybe you should have married
That rock guitarist from Jersey.
There was a pleasant stillness then—
A home, yellow flutterings—
Which you cannot help considering, bound,
For another hour, to this stubborn plain
While the afternoon sun makes water of the air
And concrete, and in this heat
Edges blur between outcroppings:
Sooted cliffs, car mufflers, non-refundables.
You’re getting older;
You’re less able to contain your questions.

Is there any marble in this hill at all?

Additional information

Weight .5 lbs
Dimensions 6 x .5 x 9 in

hannah225Sarah Hannah received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Parnassus, Agni, Rattapallax, Western Humanities Review, New Millennium Writing, The National Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Harvard Review, and many other journals. She was also an editor at Barrow Street Press, and Poet Laureate of The Friends of Hemlock Gorge, an organization of nature conservators in Newton, MA. She was awarded a Governor’s Fellowship for residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts for summer 2001, 2002 and 2006. The original manuscript which became Longing Distance was a semi-finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 2002. Poems from Inflorescence have been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. She grew up in Newton, and until her death in May 2007, taught poetry writing and literature at Emerson College.

Longing Distance receives worthy praise in the Spring 2006 issue of Home Planet News. The full review may be found here.


Sarah Hannah is interviewed and Longing Distance (Tupelo Press, 2005) is featured on Doug Holder’s blog, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene.


Slope literary magazine features a review of Longing Distance in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue.


Ann Stapleton of the Newpages.com reviewed Longing Distance.