cover image Hemisphere: Poems

Hemisphere: Poems

Ellen Hagan. Northwestern Univ./TriQuarterly, $16.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-8101-3080-7

Hagan's second collection (after Crowned) is centered on creation and femininity, discussing the generations of women around her, motherhood and daughterhood, and even girls she sees on the subway. She dreams of a world where women are free from oppression and violence while acknowledging that it cannot exist. The book opens with a call to attention and goes on to name the world as it is for Hagan during her pregnancy. This declaration of ownership by naming, akin to what Adam did in the Garden of Eden, is the most interesting section of the book. Full of sentimentality for the future and a genuine love of the women around her, Hagan presents poems about pregnancy and womanhood that are really about the world. The rest of the book is divided into two sections: one about the speaker's own history, and one about the actual birthing process. These sections are less successful and feel like retreads of other feminist writings. The writing is beautiful and plain, emotional without being overwrought. By the time readers reach the collection's close%E2%80%94"all of you tilted/ from the hemisphere of me"%E2%80%94it is clear that Hagan means more than the daughter just born. (Apr.)