Hannah Larrabee
Wonder Tissue

hannah cover.jpg

Hannah Larrabee’s Wonder Tissue immerses us in intricacy and intimacy, from a frozen mummy to the jostling at the “junction of rail car bones.” In a notable range of poems we are bidden to Hieronymus Bosch haunting the eco-migrations of trees. To imaginary conceits of the poet’s car when she’s not there. To consider Peter, a frail Apostle led down a corridor to acknowledge the White Nose Syndrome currently killing bats. Deft poems survey the vast and minute, by story and analysis, unifying right hemisphere, left hemisphere, giving notice to a reader perhaps drawn too inward by the pixels of a surrogate cosmos that a “Braille of history” waits just outside the open window.

Cover design: Beth Ford
ISBN: 978-1-950404-01-8
Paperback: $16
Publication date: September 18, 2019

Hannah Larrabee grew up on a blueberry farm in Maine, and somehow studied poetry with Charles Simic. She’s had work appear in: The Adirondack Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Bomb Cyclone, Lambda Literary, Nixes Mate, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Murmuration, was selected as part of the Robin Becker Series for LGBTQ poets from Seven Kitchens Press. Hannah was selected by NASA to see the James Webb Space Telescope in person, and her poems were displayed at Goddard Space Center. She has been awarded an Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard, Norway in 2020. Hannah holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. hannahlarrabee.com

Praise for Wonder Tissue

Hannah Larrabee’s Wonder Tissue immerses us in intricacy and intimacy, from a frozen mummy to the jostling at the “junction of rail car bones.” In a notable range of poems we are bidden to Hieronymus Bosch haunting the eco-migrations of trees. To imaginary conceits of the poet’s car when she’s not there. To consider Peter, a frail Apostle led down a corridor to acknowledge the White Nose Syndrome currently killing bats. Deft poems survey the vast and minute, by story and analysis, unifying right hemisphere, left hemisphere, giving notice to a reader perhaps drawn too inward by the pixels of a surrogate cosmos that a “Braille of history” waits just outside the open window.

—Tim Whitsel, author of Wish Meal

I hesitate to say that Hannah Larrabee's Wonder Tissue will alter the tectonics of your thinking, only because it's so visceral and wholly embodied that it doesn't feel like thinking at all, or rather feels like what thinking would be were we to re-inhabit radically the body in which we find ourselves, and by that body I include the patch of earth or bed or observatory from which we sometimes grasp stars, and the gritty talus we occasionally attend to underfoot, and the undulant, flaky layers of shale, mica, and bedrock beneath that, and arches that form from that same proto-rock or from the hemispheres reaching for one another, and the music of their embraces and their falling short, and the language which wends through all of it, a river of mattering. These poems are not only for us but of us, and I can think of few collections that feel as though some primordial axis of the universe itself is as pulsatingly, gorgeously present in them as this one.

—Tim Horvath, author of Understories

It’s rare to find a poet at home in the world—at home in her own house and on her own land, and at home in her occasional homelessness. Hannah Larrabee’s poems make me feel the way I feel when I read Yehuda Amichai: guided by one who has been lost once or twice (or more!) and who has at heart a caring that is essential, forgiving, earthly (and earthy!). A terrific book, soulful in all its clarities.

—David Rivard, author of Standoff

Hannah Larrabee’s Wonder Tissue has three parts: a “Right Hemisphere” section, a “Left Hemisphere” section, and a “Corpus Callosum” poem—titled after the membrane that connects the two halves of the human brain—in the middle. Like her poetic predecessors (traces of Elizabeth Bishop abound), Larrabee reaches far beyond the popular myth of the creative versus the logical, instead reflecting the more scientifically accurate and philosophically compelling reality: that the disjunctions and conjunctions that comprise us are hardly firm, rigid, or simplistic. They’re fluid and strange—even holographic, to borrow a word from the Jim Harrison quote that serves as one of the collection’s epigraphs. The speakers of Wonder Tissue embrace the porous boundaries and tensions within themselves and between themselves and their environments. They are conscious down to their bones that perhaps “one day everything will / sink, fathoms won’t matter / then and I’m afraid / nothing will.” They are aware that “authority,” “evil,” and “death” haunt our world. They confess that they stand at times “in the immaculate aisles of despair.” And they insist on declaring that they are “alive / in all my fires.”

—Sumita Chakraborty. author of Arrow

Excerpt from Wonder Tissue

Extraterrestrial

 Loose-leaf planet I survive
steeping in a pocket of dust
or lakeside listening to loons,
my tongue curling around
their songs of sorrow, fierce
red eyes, fierce as her body,
its way of going about me—oh,
abandoned bed like a reliquary,
her bone fingers a memory
inside me—oh, I have learned
the language of the homesick
 on
this planet of horses, this planet
of her legs tightening around me,
force rising against gravity, magma
loosened as from a spur kicked
into earth, foaming at the bit, I am
tamed, I am tamed, come tame me
extraterrestrial, I, too, have learned
the word beautiful, mapped its quiet
coordinates, the wind through her dress
is the conversation of cells, I am alive
in all my fires.