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Blind Huber

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  363 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Award-winning poet Nick Flynn takes readers into the dangerous and irresistible center of the hive

I sit in a body & think of a body, I picture
Burnens' hands, my words
make them move. I say, plunge them into the hive,
& his hands go in.
—from "Blind Huber"

Blindness does not deter François Huber—the eighteenth-century beekeeper—in his quest to learn about bees through t
Paperback, 89 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Graywolf Press
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Jul 21, 2009 Joe added it
Recommends it for: Soccer Mom Poets
Recommended to Joe by: MFA programs.
Shelves: poetry
This is a good example of books that frustrate me. When I was applying to MA/MFA programs three years ago it seemed Flynn was all over the place, the publishing index at the end of this book seems to affirm this. I was excited by his youth and acclaim. Yet now, with a more nuanced relationship to verse, this book comes off as shallow, easy, the epitome of quietude. I say this knowing that there will be much resistance to this description. But let's examine the post script in particular for its t ...more
For me, this book of poems didn't quite live up to its concept. The idea here, of having a collection of poems centered not only on the life of bees, but at the same time on the life of the blind beekeeper/scientist is original and interesting. Unfortunately, I never felt as engaged with the actual poems as I expected.

In the first poem, we meet the title character himself, who says:

my eyes now more like their eyes,
morning filtered beyond translucence

I think this is an apt description of the poem
Jan 12, 2008 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melissa by: a former (high school) teacher who's now my boss
Shelves: poetry
Dull dud. What's the big deal?

"When you see us swarm -- rustle of
wingbeat, collapsed air -- your mind
tries to make us one"
Jim Manis
"the blood rush of yes"

Wonderful example of the melding of science and poetry.

Huber, of French descent and born in Geneva, began to lose his eyesight at age 15, but nevertheless spent the next 50 years studying honeybees, much of the knowledge of which, while ancient, had been lost. Bees, of course, made agriculture possible, and agriculture made civilization possible. Which in turn allows science and art to thrive.

From "Blind Huber (xiii)":

It's Easter,
& not one of my visitors, learned men
Sorry, honey. I just don't see what the buzz is all about.
Colin McKay Miller
I’ve criticized Nick Flynn for rehashing the same subject matter, but his second collection of poetry, Blind Huber, is actually different. It’s about bees.

Yes. All of it. About bees.

Sometimes the poems are from the perspective of the insects, other times from the handlers, but most of the time, these poems just annoyed me (yes, even when Flynn casually slipped in ‘rhododendron’). Maybe if bees were my favorite insect I’d relish a whole book on the matter, but it seems like a focus best relegate
Raouf Sattaur
Nick Flynn has the whole world buzzing for Blind Huber the beekeeper!
Nick Flynn
Blind Huber
Graywolf Press, 2002

Due to Nick Flynn’s success with his first poetry collection Some Ether Nick Flynn had to come back even harder and soar higher than ever before. Well , Blind Huber packs a sting and flies high as a story unravels about a blind French beekeeper and the intricacies of the beehive. At first, this collection of poems seems to be about the thoughts of a beekeeper and the happenings of the in
Visha Burkart
This book of poems didn't necessarily inspire me to start writing afterwards, but I did enjoy it as an example of the versatility of writing, of the fine subject matter, and of the obvious interest expressed by the poet.

I don't often read books of poetry from front to back, but rather pick and choose one or two poems to read at a time, put the book down, and wander off to think about what I've read or attempt to start writing based on my feelings about the poem(s).

I enjoyed this book, although
When I started reading Blind Huber: Poems this week, I met at beekeeper at work, a friend on mine sent me a poem that she wrote that included bees--bees were everywhere.

I am so glad I picked this book for the 20th I've read so far this year. It was wonderful. It didn't feel like this whole book about bees was repetitive, or gimmicky.

In addition to bees, there were poems about a specific bee researcher, Francois Huber (yeah, he was blind), and his assistant, Francois Burnens. I love how the poe
Nov 18, 2008 Elizabeth added it
Shelves: poetry
I had been meaning to read Nick’s second book since I first heard him read some poems from it. His first book, “Some Ether,” really affected me deeply -- in a visceral and aesthetic way, the difference between the two being that I felt with the book as I admired its craft. This doesn’t happen often for me -- usually one or the other (head or heart) dominates my experience. Here, both were in concert.

I think what I admire most about the book is its spareness. Flynn takes on a subject with layers
Everything we know about bees and beekeeping is thanks to a blind 18th century Frenchman named Blind Huber. In Nick Flynn's inspired poetry collection which takes its name from the gentleman, we have a collection in which the queen, the workers, the drones, and even Blind Huber himself speaks,weaving a tale of death and rebirth in poetry. Flynn successfully uses excerpts from Huber's own letters and journals within the poems, but it is really the work from the point of view of the bees that get ...more
Im not into poetry at all, so im a terrible judge of what is considered good vs bad poetry. I jumped on this because i love his memoirs, and i thought this concept was intriguing. I read the book in an hour, and didnt connect with it. I'll probably go back to reading his memoirs, because i need a bit more plot to be satisfied.
The majority of the poems found in this collection are written delicately. It makes sense given the author's recent fame and following, but I would have liked to have seen more risks taken by a still young author. Consider the endnotes. Exploring the similarities between the civilizations of bees and people while simultaneously exploring the oddity of Huber and Burnen's relationship was enough to keep me interested.

I think it is an achievement to write something so subtle and quiet that leaves
Erin Lyndal
If you don't know this, I'm obsessed with writing poems about bees--I have two manuscripts. Blind Huber actually came out the year before I wrote the first one, so I can't be too mad that he "took" my topic.

However, I am a very harsh critic of bee poetry. :)

And the thing I really do not like about this book is that it feels lazy formally and linguistically and imagistically. It's like he let the mythos of Burnens and Huber (and of the bees) carry the book for him without really interceding as a
John Pappas
I love collections organized around themes, or poem cycles about a specific concept (like Gabrielle Calvocoressi's excellent The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart). Nick Flynn's collection is no different. Here in Blind Huber, Flynn showcases his talents as an image-maker exploring the hive society of bees through the eyes of philosophical/mystic bee-keeper Blind Huber and his bees. These short poems are both taut and languid, with an economy of image taking on a near-mythic resonance, as these bee ...more
This is an amazing book. The poem that stuck out to me most: Twinned.

To exist wholly in another, seamless,
mirrored. Think of the hive,

at each turn we find ourselves, not
a version, not a replica,
but our whole selves. Love,

you claim, comes close to this,
no space

between your words, a hand

over each other’s heart. How do you live
with this distance? I have you, she
claims, or, I know you,

but she can never say, I am you.
I don't know what happened here. I'm becoming wary of contemporary poets' second books. It seems as if the tendency is to let the craft overrun the heartbeat of the work. This read like a good idea on the back jacket, but seems to me to be too filled with self-aware "cleverness." I'll keep running towards anything that Flynn writes; he's still my hero. Alas, I guess even super rock-star poets need to falter every once in a while.
Stephanie Edwards
Very different from Some Ether, but beautiful in its own way. I was skeptical at first when I realized half or more of the poems were written from the perspective of bees. Epistemic privilege seemed like a bit of the problem. But, I found myself loving them, a lot. And, I love the way he uses his lines--crazy ass line breaks, but I love them.
Heather June Gibbons
I'm into the concept/conceit, and find some of the language and the spare configurations to be quite lovely, but ultimately, it just doesn't _do_ anything for me. However insistently intertextual the poems are, they don't seem to progress or build on one another or grow in a satisfying way.

Erin Malone
I'm a fan of Flynn's first book of poems, Some Ether. I've lost count of how many times I've read it, in fact, and highly recommend it. But this book, while having a clear enough purpose, never transcends its subject matter. The effect is flat.
This is some boring ass shit. How does a guy go from writing Some Ether to this? Very disappointing. So disappointing I can't bring myself to use my precious little time finishing it.
Author clearly has some writing talent going for him, but can we attribute his tendency for obfuscation to youth? We'll have to wait for some more from him to know for sure...
The poems in this book are about bees. It is a sensual, beautiful book whose only possible flaw is that it is too pretty.
It's no Some Ether, but it's nice to see Flynn trying something different. The "Huber" poems are my favorites.
There are some excellent poems in this collection, but overall, I simply failed to connect with it.
A friend recommended this collection to me and I am forever grateful.

beautiful beyond words...

This book was how I first discovered the "bee poem" genre.

Very moving.
Flynn writes some of the most powerful poetry I have read. Great stuff.
Katie Robb
GREAT poetry. Haven't loved a newer poet in a while, but this was perfect.
Oct 08, 2008 Dana added it
I have loved all of Nick Flynn's work. It bowls me over,

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Nick Flynn is an American poet, memoirist, and playwright.

His most recent book is The Ticking Is The Bomb, a memoir about awaiting his first child while simultaneously learning and fighting against American torture during the Iraq War.
Flynn's had written one play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins. His most famous book is a memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He has publi
More about Nick Flynn...
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City Some Ether The Ticking is the Bomb The Reenactments The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands

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“inside us, a flower taken whole,

a field built inside.”
“we fill the nothing with suns,

line them up,
swallow sap, swallow

field, drop by drop, each stem
a pump. Rose to rose to rose to
rose to rose to rose to rose, calyx &

anther, all summer

More quotes…