Family mayhem and uncertainty is voiced with conviction by this narrator who knows without any doubt that she's not Evelyn. In this second volume by author Susan Hankla, who hails from Roanoke, Virginia, women run across the lawn in their slips spilling coffee, have their legs breathed on in dark movie palaces by dragons, are accused of shoplifting in Swimwear, go to God on the way to delivering freshly baked pies… women read Sylvia Plath and chew gum during yoga class. Women, in this anarchic volume of poems, have boyfriends whose nosebleeds make them miss a home which may not exist. Within these leaving-home-behind-spun poems made of lang-tangles and gleeful amusements, lyrical narrative bytes of millgrists and drift, find dreamy pies made of fruit flies and mimosa trees you can really sit up in along with homemade biscuits dipped in honey and memory.
“How lucky we are to live on the same planet with Susan Hankla’s brain! These elegiac, droll, wise, and celebratory poems offer luminous, incisive stories of a girl learning the mysteries of family, the costumes of womanhood, the roadside bouquets of daily experience turned to revelation. Resonant as haiku, chockfull of odd gossip that carries the feel of legend, this clan-gathering of “poets’ lang-tangles” invites us to pull up a lawn chair, fill ourselves a plate, and listen. Reader, do not refuse the invitation.”—Jeanne Larsen
‘“Above cumulus clouds I levitate, / wearing just a shower cap and pearls.’ Susan Hankla is not Evelyn and she is not like anyone else. Her vertiginous imaginative terrain is at once surreal and quotidian, hilarious and deeply moving. I love levitating with her and her fascinating characters through this world of startling imagery and wildly unexpected linguistic turns. And her lucky readers hurtle with her, compelled and shaken by the voice of this uniquely gifted poet.”—Kathryn Levy
“Too many poems. Take up more space than needed. Go on for too long. Building too upper a case. Talking up how they’re haunting, fever-dreamt. And then ending up. More than a little shy, clichéd. So, the short breath, long-sighted, snapshots in Susan Hankla’s I’m not Evelyn come as some relief. I mean, they still go back a ways. When play could be a tough business. Wearing the patched-together so you think of it as whole. Packing the perfect amount. For time travel. And still finding it in them. To get supper right. People aping people. These infinite relations. Teen entanglements. Doing all we can to keepsake and same.
Ever-taking to the air. All strung out. And sung-touted. Precious. In a roughed up sense. With some menace and the double-meant. Thrown in for good measure. What we used to call sooth-saying. Or signing off on the world. But thinking nothing of it. Always creating. South of south. High-staked and giving off sun. Just the right distance. And light.”—Mark DeCarteret
Susan Hankla lives in Richmond, VA. Recipient of the Virginia Prize for Fiction and fellowships to VCCA and the Frost Place, she holds a BA from Hollins College and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University. Clinch River, her debut poetry collection set in Appalachia, was published by Groundhog Poetry Press. Other works have been published in Gargoyle, Beloit Fiction Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Blue Mesa, Artemis, Hollins Critic, Open Places, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest and the New Virginia Review as well as a chapbook published by Burning Deck Press.
Author City: RICHMOND, VA USA