Swan Hammer

An Instructor’s Guide to Mirrors

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Pub Date 01 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2022

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This collection chronicles coming of age as a queer millennial in a twenty-first century America defined by the internet, climate crisis, and a growing disconnection that the poems within work to resist. Here, everyone and everything serves as a potential reflection for something larger than the poet can understand: an unknown debit card thief, the cartoon teacher Ms. Frizzle, The Weather Channel, an RV park, a dead poet. These poems seek to make something of the spaces between and reach toward a sense of the ecstatic just beyond. They are poems of imagination and vision that strive to look rather than look away, that attempt to capture a nebulous feeling before it is gone for good. Swan Hammer is an instructor’s guide to connection-making, of seeing and then seeing again, in ways that have been redefined in the age of the internet. Here is one poet’s wandering relationship to their own sense of what it is to be alive and queer at a time when there is so much on the brink of disappearing—and what a queer experience it is.

This collection chronicles coming of age as a queer millennial in a twenty-first century America defined by the internet, climate crisis, and a growing disconnection that the poems within work to...

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ISBN 9781611864311
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Featured Reviews

This is one of the most engaging poetry collections I’ve read. Every poem told a story and not in the way of some collections, with a lot of vagueness and ambiguity which requires a more experienced or abstract poetry reader to understand. It was beautiful in its straightforward exploration of modernity, life and intimacy whilst at the same time offering a chance to delve deeper into Maggie Graber’s words and take more away from her writing if you want to.

As a bit of a poetry novice, the commentary at the beginning from Sarah Bagby was a great introduction to the collection and insight into the themes of Swan Hammer.

The mix of poems includes haikus, sonnets, odes and more which made each one distinct and demonstrated the poet’s talent for different forms of expression. There wasn’t a poem I didn’t like and I enjoyed the humour and playfulness in the writing, as well as the thoughtfulness and thought-provoking nature of the work.

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Swan Hammer is a really lovely collection of poems. Graber does a wonderful job of gut punches and one liners; poems that make you go back to re-read and saturate yourself in the depths of it. Her style is consistent and while it doesn't stray too far from traditional form there is still a fresh and contemporary feel about it.

My favorite poems are: "The Poet Dreams of Levitation", "Self-Portrait as a Jack-o'-Lantern", and "Would You Rather Sonnet."

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I really loved the use of the liminal in this collection, and the way the poet tied in math with nature, poetry, and queerness in this collection. There are lines and ideas in this collection that will live rent free in my head, the ode to graph paper and her love of Ms. Frizzle -- especially Kate McKinnon -- and the derby girls who aren't afraid to get black and blue to get real and beautiful.

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It was a very risky read for me hahah A lot of devices I thought I didn't like in poetry, both in English and Turkish, I loved in this collection. Firstly, I don't like long descriptions of concrete stuff I like beautiful prose of intense feelings (I'm not a critic obv that's just my kind of Poetry) but in this book, the former was just tastefully done, and all that experience leads an emotional insight and that made me want to go back and reread the poem again which was great. Secondly, I cringe when I read new references, technology popular culture idk why. Again, I didn't cringe moreover I loved it? Wth they were relatable, I mean relatable ofc doesn't mean good, but i had an emotional response, feeling nostalgic with a little bit of disdain to nostalgia.

What's intellectually satisfying and surprising is also sexy and loveable. For me. For the Poet obviously because this collection feels like a love letter to earth in its physical form. I loved it really.

Thank you, Netgalley and Michigan State University Press for granting me an access for the book, which has already become one of my favorite poetry collections and a poet that I will love to follow her works.

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This is a lovely collection of poetry. Some of the poems were a miss for me but most of them were huge hits and overall I really enjoyed this book.

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An interesting collection of poems. These have their fair share of modern references. The poems feel conversational and are full of reflections. I especially loved "Poem for Ms. Frizzle" and "les(bi)an."

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This is truly a gripping, vibrant and evocative collection of poems. There's a lot to love here in each and every piece.

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A fun and intriguing collection! I really enjoyed the tone of these poems, and how they fluctuated between conversational pop culture references and quiet moments of reflection. This is a lovely collection of poems that will leave you with plenty to ponder.

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I really enjoyed the poems in Swan Hammer. They used a fair amount of cultural references (I loved the poem devoted to 3/14- Pi Day). Maggie Graber's writing really evokes a sense of place, and I read as if I am really at the place she's describing. Some of the poems were pretty funny, like the "Elegy for the Early 21st Century Hipster." These aren't your grandma's poems!!

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