Barrow Street, 2016


It’s as if Hurt took a map of America, redrew all the state lines, and saved only the best city names: Aimwell, Nightmute, Neverstill, Honesty. Then she filled those towns with tough beauty and longing, everyday objects and encounters acquiring new weight in a landscape that aches like home while also striking us with its singularity. “As expected, after the wedding, the house / became a cough we lived in, trembling / in the throat of that asthmatic spring,” begins the poem “Self-Portrait in Needmore, Indiana,” which goes on to show us, “The streets stacked and curved like fingers / on a grease-knuckled hand gripping / the waist of our Midwestern dream.” This is an unforgettable book, a vital and compelling voice. —Mary Biddinger

In Which I Play the Runaway by Rochelle Hurt

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