Poems by Kimiko Hahn

Reckless Sonnet #7

Things That Make Me Cry Instantly

Gowanus, Late Summer (2000)


In poems dense with curiosity and a self-proclaimed “desire to blur,” Kimiko Hahn’s unique voice haunts as much as it is haunted. Her “daring, exciting poems,” notes the poet Ai, “take us into the dark woods of our own psyche.” Hahn’s work, “large in the range of her concerns and the intensity of their passions” (Publishers Weekly), invites readers to re-imagine traditional notions of gender and selfhood.

Freaks, daughters, lovers, and monsters are all subject to Hahn’s unrelenting attention and honesty in the dark world of circumstance and desire. Fiercely intimate and utterly fearless, these are nonetheless, as Evan Boland writes, “poems with a zest for everything.”

In her most recent book, The Narrow Road to the Interior, Hahn adapts the ancient Japanese artistic technique of zuihitsu (“running brush”), to create, as Marilyn Chin writes, “a high mockery of Basho’s classic diary.” Formally innovative and informally contemplative, incorporating lyrical prose pieces, on-the-fly notations, lists, anecdotes, striking images, accounts of quotidian activities, and sudden confessions, she uses the tools of fragmentation and paradox to drive her examination of the intimate intersections of memory, body and identity.

Born in Mt. Kisco, New York, to a Japanese-American mother and a German-American father, Hahn is the author of seven volumes of poetry and the recipient of the American Book Award for her 1995 collection The Unbearable Heart. She is a Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College-CUNY and lives in New York.





      Poetry Center Reading:  
    Spring 2007