Self/Pity

Susan Firestone Hahn, Author . Northwestern Univ. $39.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-8101-5164-2 ISBN 978-0-8101-5165-9

From "high/ in the uterine tube," through to nursery rhymes and appendectomies, this inventive sixth collection from the Chicago-based Hahn draws abstractions, allegories, oddball equivalents and general claims from the growing and aging human body. One Mattea Harvey-influenced set of poems is named for body parts ("Pity the Appendix," "Pity the Brain"), and seeks emotions proper to individual organs; another considers the chakras of yoga, and a third takes on the queasy, sexual charge and intellectual conclusions this poet finds alike in Internet porn and in the story of Eden. Hahn imagines herself as "Alice fallen/ into the rabbit hole," as an absurdist character in a play trying to understand "the cosmic joke," and as Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics; "Goose Pity" rewrites the story of Leda and the swan to replace the god Zeus with Mother Goose. Hahn (Mother in Summer ), who edits TriQuarterly magazine, shares a toolkit, and an attitude, with such peers as Alice Fulton and H.L. Hix, though she is perhaps more reader-friendly than either, especially in the series—based partly on the Gospels, partly on the life of a not-yet-born child—with which the book concludes. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/25/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 80 pages - 978-0-8101-5165-9
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