Synopses & Reviews
With intimacy and depth of insight, Henrietta Goodman’s Hungry Moon suggests paradox as the most basic mode of knowing ourselves and the world. We need hunger, the poems argue, but also satisfaction. We need pain to know joy, joy to know pain. We need to protect ourselves, but also to take risks. Though the poems are drawn from personal experience, Goodman shares the conviction of such poets as Anne Sexton and Louise Glück that when the poet writes of the self, the self cannot be exempt from culpability. Goodman’s speaker ranges through time and locale—from exploring the experience of flying in a small plane with her lover/pilot over the landscape of the American West to addressing the grief and retrospective self-scrutiny that arise from a friend’s death. Like the work of Mark Doty and Tony Hoagland, Goodman’s poems embrace concrete particularity, entangled as it is with imperfection and loss: “the Quik Stop’s fridge full of sandwiches and small bottles of livestock vaccines,” “the black, hammer-struck moon of your thumb,” “the empty water tower, one rusted panel kicked in like a door.”
Stunningly musical and stylistically varied, the poems in Hungry Moon have the effect of a flyover view of terrain pocked with domestic and social unease. The reconnaissance we receivered stuffing spilling out of a childs cheek torn by a dog; a cello cases lining exposed like a body split down the middlemakes us think there is no safe place to land. But Goodman is expert at steering our gaze to identify landmarks in the natural world to bring us safely down; these sonically rich and surprising poems are lessons in perception, obliging us to look at the world from a distance and then up close, touch what is in front of us, like a stone from a rockslideI pick one up, / hold my hand over the black draft, then put it backto learn from, and move on.” Curtis Bauer
About the Author
Henrietta Goodman is the author of Take What You Want, winner of the 2006 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana and a PhD in English from Texas Tech University. Her poems have been published in New England Review, Massachusetts Review, Field, and Guernica, and she has received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Montana Arts Council and the Marjorie Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency. Her work is included in the anthologies Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books and A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. She lives in Missoula, Montana.