Radioactive Starlings: Poems
From an award-winning poet, a collection that explores the complexities of transformation, cultures, and politics
In Radioactive Starlings, award-winning poet Myronn Hardy explores the divergences between the natural world and technology, asking what progress means when it destroys the places that sustain us. Primarily set in North Africa and the Middle East, but making frequent reference to the poet's native United States, these poems reflect on loss, beauty, and dissent, as well as memory and the contemporary world's relationship to the collective past.
Hardy imagines the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa as various starlings dwelling in New York City, Lisbon, Tunis, and Johannesburg, flying above these cities, resting in ficus and sycamores and on church steeples and minarets. Inhabiting the invented voices of Gwendolyn Brooks, Bob Kaufman, and Henry Ossawa Tanner, the poems make references to Miles Davis, Mahmoud Darwish, Tamir Rice, Ahmed Mohamed, and Albert Camus, and use forms such as ghazal, villanelle, pantoum, and sonnet, in addition to free lyricism. Through all these voices and forms, the questing starlings persist, moving and observing--and being observed by we who are planted on a crumbling ground.
A meditation on the complexities of transformation, cultures, and politics, Radioactive Starlings is an important collection from a highly accomplished young poet.
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About the Author
"Exigent, insistently international in their references, Myronn Hardy's poems combine painterly sensuality with a restless interrogation of history and self. Bodies, in Hardy's poems, stand where other bodies stood centuries before. Absences grow visible; someone is always looking at someone else looking away. Such themes are enacted in Hardy's singular prosody. The starlings of the book's title are what unite all the poems and places. We sense them, specks of blackness, flying over us, blowing through us like neutrinos, bringing us together, living and dead, into the fullness of our humanity."--Forrest Gander, author of Core Samples from the World
"[Radioactive Starlings] is an illuminating, if occasionally difficult, collection."---Publishers Weekly,
"What Myronn Hardy attempts in Radioactive Starlings, few dare to dream of doing, and rightly so, for rare is the poet that is capable of the breadth, depth, and density that characterize his exploration. I know this, because, reading it, I am overrun."---Ciahnan Darrell, Marginalia