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Barnburner

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4.79  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Poetry. Barnburner by Erin Hoover is the winner of the 2017 Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award. Kathryn Nuernberger, contest judge, had this to say about it: "The epigraph to Barnburner is a call to burn it all down: 'According to an old story, there was once a Dutchman who was so bothered by the rats in his barn that he burned down the barn to get rid of them. Thus a barn burner became one who de ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 1st 2018 by Elixir Press
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Keith
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"No discussion of a protagonist’s poverty, defamation, or existential helplessness goes without comparison to those who’ve got it worse. The most venomous screeds against former lovers, the cruelty of strangers, or even a lowly ATM mugger are still woven through with the idea that everyone plays their part in creating the larger murk of unhappiness and desperation that is, more and more, becoming the real shared truth of life in our modern world."

full review here: The Poetics of Anger
Michelle  Hogmire
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary debut poetry collection, informed by the simultaneous sad desperation and proud stubbornness of rural Appalachia--squeaking by on call center salaries, blatantly buying drugs in hotel lobbies, subsisting on land plagued by environmental destruction. Hoover is at her finest when tackling the thorniness of female sexuality and embodiment, although I have a different favorite subject here. (Completely biased reading, relating to me personally) I adore "With Gratitude to Those Who Have ...more
Ace Boggess
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Barnburner is a rich, powerful collection of poems--a mix of narrative and confessional. They explore hopes and histories, nostalgia, regret, and becoming. Some of the scenes and subsequent meditations burn your fingers as you read. Others bring sadness, hurt. In every line, though, Hoover's writing is so compelling won't be able to stop following where she leads as if this is a mystery novel rather than a book of verse. It's that good. I'm sure I'll read it again soon.
Eliot
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bitingly dark, eyes-wide-open, tightly crafted poems.
Matthew Henschel
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a powerful book. I read the poem “The Valkyrie” before the book came out, and it was legitimately one of the best poems I’ve read in a long, long time. I found myself coming back to read it again and again.

Barnburner is full of similarly moving poems. These are poems that speak to desperation and defiance with authenticity. “PR Opportunity at the Food Bank” speaks to the sort of experience I had many times in the nonprofit world, but the poem articulates truths that I had never rea
...more
Jaime
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not a huge poetry reader, but this was really excellent. The poems touch on such a wide variety of topics - fertility, economic issues, class/privilege, intolerance, politics - but they all flow well together. I couldn’t stop reading this, but when I was done, I went back to some of my favorites - ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, WHAT IS THE SISTERHOOD TO ME?, WITH GRATITUDE...among others, and just read them again, letting them pour over me. These poems are urgent, smart, insightful, and timely.
Zach Werbalowsky
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm saying five stars here, to me its a 4.5, but it deserves a round up! This is a very good collection. The poems striking, electrifying, filled with longing and tender hatefulness the 21st century deserves. To simultaneous want to run away from the world and critique it from the middle. Knowing that so much of life will be out of your control. I love the structure of the poems, the strong use of story and narration to create sentiment and not relying only on an interior world to describe the e ...more
Evan
May 29, 2019 added it
Shelves: poetry
"I've peered through
the rail arches that line the Susquehanna,
I've watched fishermen throw back shad
corrupted by centuries of seeping mines,
and thought, I'm no different from anybody
else here, still shoving broken microwaves

into any sinkhole I can find. The river
runs acidic enough to pickle animals
and wafts like a latrine. But once,
when my ancestors first saw its waters,
trees muffled the forest floor to twilight
at noon."
Eunice
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
What a delightful read. The author takes the reader of mixed emotions: nostalgia, disgust, fear, and discovery. I delighted in reading about a girl who grew up in a messed up home (like most of us) and who survives day by day in a big city. Gritty and wonderful.
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Shelves: poetry
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Erin Hoover's poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry and Best New Poets, and in journals such as Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Pleiades. She earned a Ph.D. from Florida State University and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she teaches writing.

Erin's debut collection of poetry, Barnburner, was selected by Kathryn Nuernberger for the Antivenom Poetry Award and published by Elixir Press in 2018.
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