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Daughter of the Hangnail Paperback – December 1, 1997
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"Rebecca Reynolds' poems are leavened by a good strangeness; they infuse the everyday with wonder and music. Whether she writes of perception or relationships, Reynolds maps the singular emotional terrain that comprises the self. Her work-- more ontology than confession-- exists where Rilke's glowing harmonics meet the raw edge of the millenium. Her exquisiteley elliptical lyrics are founded on an intelligence as shimmering as it is convincing." -- Alice Fulton
"Reynolds tracks the disordered rhetoric of a generation raised on talk shows and deconstruction." -- Publishers Weekly, November 24, 1997
Darkness to Rebecca Reynolds has a velvet texture, one that lures the reader to enter. She works with a selective eye, isolating, for example, a piece of dark bread "in somebody's rumpled coat" (Redshift"), or "the singing birds/in their armchair of song." ("Affliction") Such details underscore the importance of humble objects that people touch daily.
Rebecca Reynolds is never clever for the sake of it and does not settle for effects. She brings sharp philosophical insights to her work and knows how to render the mind visible. This is a book to be sought out, and truly savored. -- David Chorlton, Poet Lore, Volume 93, No. 2
Rebecca Reynolds is that rare type of poet, a sensous philosopher. Each poem in this luminous collection discovers, that is, breaks through to new perceptions, new paths of thinking, new ways of saying. Reynolds creates rich, deftly stratified poems of memory, cognition, and feeling that are as transformative of the language as they are transportive for the reader. These poems are victories over the ordinary, the easy, the dulled, and excel at doing what we need poetry to do-- they awaken, resuscitate. -- Jeanne Marie Beaumont
Rebecca Reynolds' poems are leavened by a good strangeness; they infuse the everyday with wonder and music. Whether she writes of perception or relationships, Reynolds maps the singular emotional terrain that comprises the self. Her work-- more ontology than confession-- exists where Rilke's glowing harmonics meet the raw edge of the millenium. Her exquisiteley elliptical lyrics are founded on an intelligence as shimmering as it is convincing. -- Alice Fulton
Rebecca Reynolds' stunning first collection constantly surprises and delights with its taut meditations. Never glib, Reynolds is by turns lucid, lyrical, reflectively ironic, wittily bittersweet-- a frequency/ fixed in the complex (The Naive Bones). Daughter of the Hangnail presents us with a brilliant new voice that can't be missed. -- Cynthia Hogue
This fun, bracingly smart first collection balances speculative epistemologies against surprising, seen things, panning from the incident ("man discivered with over 700 birds") to remote tangent: "his poor head, startled the way a floorplan is startled with wings." Reynolds' comparisons propose and test definitions of self, pain, meaning: "The heart-- a canned tulip-- cannot bear itself. And the mind's light masonry houses a crap shoot, waterlit." She enjoys sycopated catalogs, aposiopeses, and "I am X, I am Y" conceits; her digressive, skittering lines mix traces of Clampitt and Graham with traces of "cool": "I had to book it with the f_____g diapers. Lost, I might add, like a tune from God." Among many poets with similar projects, Reynolds stands out for her sharp juxtapositions, for her generous empathies, and for her sometimes-exceptional ear: "We are turning cans and fenders into rust in the yard and scrub in the umber ground." -- Stephen Burt, The Boston Review
From the Publisher
Daughter of the Hangnail is also a winner of a Small Press Editor's Choice Award for 1998.