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Toxic Flora: Poems

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  95 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
For Kimiko Hahn, the language and imagery of science open up magical possibilities for the poet. In her haunting eighth collection inspired by articles from the weekly “Science” section of the New York Times, Hahn explores identity, extinction, and survival using exotic tropes drawn from the realms of astrophysics, mycology, paleobotany, and other rarefied fields. With war ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 3rd 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Feb 03, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The title is brilliant: these poems burst with life; it isn't always pretty but it is never dull. I love how human life emerges among the insects and fish here, too. A whole-hearted homage to science writers and writing. (I took a workshop with Kimiko, and found her teaching to be as clear and fine as these poems.)
Apr 02, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I love what Hahn does in this collection; she takes science articles from newspapers and journals and writes poems inspired from those that catch her attention. These aren't just a reiteration of some of the facts she found fascinating, but reflections on these facts which she connects to the human experience and sometimes to her own life. The first half of the poems she has here tend to be scientific or factual; then they proceed to making a connection to human life as a whole or a personal exp ...more
Sean Endymion
Nov 17, 2011 Sean Endymion rated it did not like it
Yeah… I don’t do “nature poetry”. Nor do I like it. I think it’s the most contrived and least interesting object for poetry possible. Well, at least Hahn tried something a little innovative – she uses scientific terms, a more conversational tone rather than a reverent one, and follows a bit of a stream-of-consciousness narrative structure.

But none of these creative facets really makes it for me. If fact, the stream-of-consciousness and strange metaphor make Hahn’s poetry far more inaccessible t
Ivan Guerra
Feb 28, 2014 Ivan Guerra rated it really liked it
Es un bonito poemario que relaciona ciertas plantas y animales con algunos aspectos del comportamiento humano. La voz lírica trata de entender la relción que tiene ella con sus hijas, con otras personas y consigo misma ofreciendo en forma de versos alguna información sobre plantas exóticas o del mundo natural. A veces me parece un ejercicio un tanto repetitivo, pero los poemas me parecen curiosos y las comparaciones ingeniosas. He disfrutado mucho la lectura y relectura de algunos.
Emily Graves
Jul 30, 2014 Emily Graves rated it really liked it
Hahn takes her inspiration from the Science section of the New York Times and the result is simply fabulous. Some of the poems are sad, ruminating on life and mortality, other are acerbically hilarious. My favorite, Big Feathered Hats, made me laugh out loud at my desk. Some of the metaphors are a little weak and forced (particularly the ones about motherhood), but some of these poems are going to be among my favorites for years for sheer cleverness alone.
Gwen Hurd
Mar 06, 2016 Gwen Hurd rated it it was ok
Hahn doesn't seem to have any real connection with nature.

She eloquently and dispassionately describes science.

This collection was really boring.

The only good poems were "Demeter's Cuttings" and "The Sweetwater Caverns" which were lovely and authentic. Everything else felt really forced.
Kasey Jueds
Mar 20, 2011 Kasey Jueds rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I am a huge Kimiko Hahn fan, but this isn't my favorite of her books... still really, really good, but not as intimate as her other work. By which I don't mean autobiographical or confessional, though her poems can be those things sometimes, but more a quality of emotional intimacy, a sense of being right next to the heart of things. I did like these; they're full of fascinating and weird details of the natural world, and some of the poems, especially the ones about the narrator's daughters, and ...more
Cindy Huyser
Jun 28, 2013 Cindy Huyser rated it liked it
These poems offer nature's workings as metaphor for human relationship; they are full of sophisticated turns and startling insights. I particularly enjoyed the poems focused mother/daughter relationship. The way Hahn weaves scientific detail into the poems is truly a pleasure, though some of the poems reach for their turns, and can feel a little formulaic. Well worth reading, nonetheless.
Jun 16, 2012 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, i-own
I bought this book after hearing Kimiko Hahn read at the National Book Fair. An interesting mix of science and poetry. I enjoyed some more than others but on the whole I found them to be very interesting in their use of metaphor. I would have liked to see her play with some different forms in the book. Hahn is very talented. I look forward to reading more of her works.
Feb 02, 2012 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
My interest in Hahn's Toxic Flora stems from my own obsession with the intersection of science & poetry. These are pleasing, well-crafted lyric poems. Nothing too adventurous in terms of form or language. Some interesting twists on insect cannibalistic mating habits & edgy mother-daughter relationships.
Jun 02, 2013 Lilith rated it really liked it
The section of this book that saved it for me was the last one, in which every poem was excellent. Otherwise a lot of it is abrupt in a particular way that felt like leaping.
Erika Dreifus
Jun 15, 2010 Erika Dreifus added it
Shelves: poetry
Stay tuned for an interview with Kimiko Hahn--focusing on Toxic Flora, in the July issue of The Practicing Writer newsletter. (ARC from Norton)
Sep 10, 2010 Joan rated it liked it
One of my favor poets, but not one of my favorites of her collection. An interesting idea, though, to take scientific articles and respond to them in poetry.
Apr 02, 2012 Tanya rated it really liked it
Again, Kimiko Hahn takes my breath. Her poems are as much symphonies as they are exhumations.
Oct 02, 2011 Kate added it
Shelves: 2011
Sometimes I found this a little too pat. But I am a sucker for biological fun facts.
Dec 14, 2012 Cara rated it did not like it
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Kimiko Hahn is the author of seven poetry collections. The Unbearable Heart won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. She has received numerous grants, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. She teaches at Queens College/The City University of New York.
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