cover image A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems 1994–2014

A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems 1994–2014

Marilyn Hacker. Norton, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-393-24464-9

Composed of new poems, work from four previous collections, and a handful of translations, this third volume of selected work from Hacker (Names) stands as a textured but unified testament to her output over the past two decades. Lyric meditations firmly grounded in the daily and the political reflect shifts the self, in current affairs, and the poet’s aesthetic development. Hacker has long made use of received forms and traditional structures as a counterpoint to her direct, open language. This volume highlights the increased prevalence of formal verse in her oeuvre, as well as the variety of forms and the diversity of their cultural provenance. A striking number of the poems are occasional—some were written in response to current events—but just as many are about matters of personal importance to the author, and the discourse surrounding them. Though Hacker’s meditations on desire, age, illness, and other aspects of her life can be very intimate, the lens is always outward, the self suffused with a sense of connection to friends, strangers, cities, and histories both inherited and in the making. Whatever the origins of particular poems, one constant in the collection is Hacker’s signature conflation of public and private spheres in the service of heightened awareness and empathy. [em](Jan.) [/em]