A History of Half-Birds: Poems (Paperback)

A History of Half-Birds: Poems By Caroline Harper New Cover Image
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Selected by Maggie Smith for the 2023 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry, this debut collection of poems explores the aftermath of history's most powerful forces: devotion, disaster, and us.Rooted in the Gulf Coast, A History of Half-Birds measures the line between love and ruin. Part poet, part anthropologist, Caroline Harper New digs into dark places--a cave, a womb, a hurricane--to trace how violence born of devotion manifests not only in our human relationships, but also in our connections to the natural and animal worlds. Everywhere in these pages, tenderness is coupled with brutality: a deer eats a baby bird, a lover restrains another. "I promised / a love poem," New proclaims, then teaches us about the anglerfish, how it "attracts its mate / and prey with the same lure."In New's exceptional voice, familiar concepts take on a shade of the fantastic. A woman tastes the earth for acidity, buries lemons and pennies for balance. Limestone "sucks the sea / into little demitasse" and hyacinths "sip the sun / black." A lone elephant wanders into the wilderness of rural Georgia, never to be seen again. But perhaps most arresting about New's work are the truths told by its strangeness, like the ancient fish who "carved their shape" in a mountain's peak, or a mother who wears a lifejacket in the bathtub.Crafted by New's voracious mind and carried by her matchless lyricism, A History of Half-Birds is a stunning investigation of love's beastly impulses--all it protects, and all it destroys.

About the Author

Caroline Harper New is the author of A History of Half-Birds, winner of the 2023 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry. She is a poet and visual artist from the Gulf Coast with a background in anthropology, and she holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Michigan. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Palette Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, and Driftwood Press. She is winner of Palette Poetry's 2023 Love & Eros Prize, the Malahat Review's 2023 Open Season Award, the Cincinnati Review's 2022 Robert and Adele Schiff Award, and Bellevue Literary Review's 2022 John & Eileen Allman Prize for Poetry. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781571315304
ISBN-10: 1571315306
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 96
Language: English