Bad Hobby: Poems


Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.3 X 0.5 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Kathy Fagan is the author of Bad Hobby and Sycamore, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award. She is also the author of four previous collections, including The Charm; The Raft, winner of the National Poetry Series; and MOVING & ST RAGE, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize. Fagan's work has appeared in venues such as the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry, The Nation, the New Republic, Best American Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Fellowship, and served as the Frost Place poet in residence. Fagan is cofounder of the MFA program at The Ohio State University, where she teaches poetry, and coedits the Wheeler Poetry Prize Book Series for The Journal and The Ohio State University Press.


"Fagan leans into descriptions of the world that pay tribute to what it is, not what it could or might be. 'How will I choose, ' she writes, 'between Heaven & Sorry.' This vibrant book resides in that in-between, honoring the loss that comes with love."--Publishers Weekly
"I drank Kathy Fagan's Bad Hobby down in one gulp, as I suspect you will, Reader. I can't imagine that anyone could set this book down with poems still unread. Fagan's subject is loss--the death of one parent, the receding of the other into dementia's distances: 'I said like, as in: like we kill time. / I mean metaphor, as when time kills us back.' 'The art of losing, ' as Bishop wrote, is mastered here with intelligence, wit, tenderness, and a blending of the personal, historical, and etymological. Reader, prepare yourself for wonderment. Take time. Drink up."--Maggie Smith"Bad Hobby is an exquisite and excruciating book of continual epiphany and insight. The poems are gorgeous, or they're stony, or they're both; they astutely examine caregiving, memory-making, the inscrutability of childhood, the inscrutability of old age, and how on earth to exist in between. In this tenuous time, I'm so grateful for Fagan's brilliant excavations of hospitals and pastures and classrooms and dreamscapes and how a body learns to live and to die."--Natalie Shapero"The poems of Bad Hobby seem familiar because they are familiar. We recognize ourselves in these lines and stories. We see ourselves as children, adults, and the elderly."--Tweet Speak Blog
Praise for Sycamore"It's hard not to fall in love with this book, with its bravado and vulnerability. Kathy Fagan's mind is endless with depth and truth--her thoughts like songs, her heart and wit twin birds flying in the air of the pages, landing on the tree limbs of her lines. How fierce and immense to imagine living in her grove of sycamores, hardy, odd, and gorgeous. There, we are bigger than ourselves--we are each other too, living and remembering within each other's shadows, limbs, sky. Sycamore is a book a reader clutches to her chest, eyes closed for a moment in bliss and recognition."--Brenda Shaughnessy"Sycamore is a complex and layered poetic consideration of the mortality of relationships, of the body, of eros, and, most generally, of the moments in time we momentarily inhabit. These are timeless poetic themes, but what Kathy Fagan does with them is stunningly original. From the cryptic and fascinating 'Platanaceae Family Tree' that opens the book, Sycamore is erudite and referential and nonetheless consistently welcoming as we navigate Fagan's inventive structures and nuanced wordplay. This collection gives us a full view of the human heart and mind simultaneously in action."--Wayne Miller"Kathy Fagan's poems are pitiless, sensual, mythic, and steeped in elucidative mystery. I admire her sleek armor of language and landscape: she may 'dress defensively'; however, 'all that pristine weather / and footwear later to discover: dead is still dead.' Fagan's sleights of hand reveal yet withhold, out of mercy, hard-won beauty and pain: 'Sycamore. Sick amour. Seek no more.' Sycamore is one of the most inventive, vulnerable, and moving collections I have read in years."--Randall Mann"Kathy Fagan's poems burn like halos, and if sycamores could bow, they would bend to kiss her hands for rendering them in such haunting light, in such daring reach. Don't miss this beautiful, knowing book."--Barbara Ras"Sycamore, Fagan's dynamic fifth collection of poems, explores the loss of a loved one through the singular and deeply personal voice of one woman and, in so doing, evokes the gut-wrenching effects of grief through vibrant, ever-evolving images culled from the natural world." --Kenyon Review"Sycamore delights as much in its close inspection of the natural world as it does in the auditory pleasures of its language. 'Sycamore. Sick amour. Seek no more, ' the speaker recites, and we know we are in the hands of a gifted word master. 'Though they are not a choir . . . not Kabuki; the trees become a temporary stand in for love, for her 'amours, ' providing the solace and steadiness necessary to stage a rebirth."--Boston Review"Sycamore burns like ice, with a seemingly cool crystalline surface nonetheless hot to the touch. . . . Fagan's flinty, well-crafted poems abound with texture and verve, and make an excellent companion for meteorological or existential cold snaps."--Publishers Weekly"Fagan erects a veritable forest in her fifth collection. Austere and elegant, the first poems call forth a cold, still world inhabited by ghosts. . . . Still, though, there is substantial hope. Trees grow, emotions thicken, and, structurally, poems melt: shorter, tenser lines ultimately give way to sprawling ones."--Booklist