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Always Danger (Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry) Paperback – February 28, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


Always Danger blends a sense of menace, of ever-present harm, with almost painterly devotion to the images central to these poems. As good books often are, this is a book of obsessions: Everyone here is hurt or maimed, has lost or is losing. We’re presented with a world few would choose to live in, though many inhabit, without choice. To the extent that Hernandez is interested in offering redemption, it comes almost solely from the poet’s attention to and veneration of detail, from an imagination blessed with animate language. Hernandez’s achievement is the double witnessing of violence and beauty, the one unavoidable and the other, by the end, earned.”—Bob Hicok, award-winning author of Animal Soul, The Legend of Light, and Insomnia Diary

“These poems—as urgent, fragile, wily as they are—go beyond the merely personal into the great world. Hernandez’s patient, generous eye is on family and stranger, the wounded and the lost, the rich life of the city, its parking lots and freeways, sad yards and heavy metal. Finally, a poet who is not the center of his universe! And it’s never simple, the dark joy that comes of such fierce attention.”—Marianne Boruch, author of five collections of poetry, including Poems: New and Selected and two books of essays on poetry, most recently, In the Blue Pharmacy

“Fierce and swift and crisp, David Hernandez’s poems drill their way into the real and always find something alive and surprising there. There’s plenty of cleverness here, but what is special about these poems is an unusual quality of determination. Hernandez’s imagination goes at the world in attack-mode—not to show off, but to discover its human depths.”—Tony Hoagland, author of What Narcissism Means to Me: Poems

About the Author

David Hernandez published his first collection of poems, A House Waiting for Music, in 2003. His poems have appeared in FIELD, The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, AGNI, The Southern Review, and TriQuarterly. His drawings have appeared in Other Voices, Gargoyle, and Indiana Review. Hernandez lives in Long Beach, California, with his wife, writer Lisa Glatt.


Product Details

  • Series: Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry
  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809326914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809326914
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,069,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Hernandez is the recipient of a 2011 NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry. His recent collection, Hoodwinked, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and is forthcoming from Sarabande Books this August. His other collections include Always Danger (SIU Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). His poems have appeared in FIELD, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, The Missouri Review, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, and Poetry Daily. He is also the author of two YA novels, No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. David teaches at the University of California, Irvine. He lives in Long Beach and is married to writer Lisa Glatt. Visit his website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In a book generously overflowing with dark humor and loss, made all the more poignant by Hernandez's gutsy lyricism, there are plenty of poems I've kept paraphrased in the back of my mind over the years.

The Taxicab Incident, recounting an incident when, as a boy, the narrator's father was nearly killed by a taxicab but collapsed on the road and it passed right over him, leaving him unharmed. Other poems about miscarriages, how easily things could have gone differently. Disappearer, a taut poem about a thirteen year old girl who wears "a black string of shark teeth" that leave "cheekmarks over her heart." Fontanelle, about "the skull's trapdoor" and, in a grander sense, the metaphysical opening that the narrator "cannot put [his] finger on." Or How to Commit Adultery with its brilliant image of a frozen, thawing heart "shushing on the grill."

But the one I love most has got to be, So the Pilot Says Over the Intercom. The poem posits a situation in which the smell of a forest fire bleeds into the cabin of an airplane passing high above the flames, compelling the pilot to get on the intercom and reassure the worried passengers that, no, the smoke is not coming from the airplane.

"Do not be alarmed if you smell smoke," the pilot says. That's good advice. If the poems in Always Danger illustrate anything, it's that all of us exist in a world where wonder and horror are next door neighbors. But what especially draws me to this poem is not just its rugged philosophy but its elegant lyricism and dark humor. Granted, it's hard to imagine your average airline pilot pointing out that if we turn on the television, we'll see that "this corner of the planet/looks apocalyptic.
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