by Cathryn Hankla
From flashcards and sonnets to long poems that stretch over pages, varied and adventurous in form, Cathryn Hankla's eighth collection of poems, GREAT BEAR, strikes a mature note in terms of tone, range, and subject matter. While her preoccupations with the vanishing natural world, and romantic and familial relationships remain persistent, in this volume she addresses the workings and ravages of time in a suite of poems situated on the islands of Malta. These meditations deliver us to the body's permutations through time and art's capacity to both see the moment and reach beyond it. The title elegy for a student and friend also examines the art of teaching, a practice of love for which there is no ready gratification, no true measure of result. GREAT BEAR invites readers to share in great emotions from erotic love to grief. Winner of the James Boatwright III Poetry Prize and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Award, Hankla remains an approachable poet, serious about her craft, who isn't afraid to delve and discover new worlds.
Cathryn Hankla is on the faculty and a past director of the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University, Chairperson of the English Department, the poetry editor of The Hollins Critic, and author of several previous books of poetry and fiction including Phenomena, Learning the Mother Tongue, A Blue Moon in Poorwater, Afterimages, Negative History, Texas School Book Depository, Emerald City Blues, Poems for the Pardoned, The Land Between, Last Exposures and Fortune Teller Miracle Fish. Winner of a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant, and the James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry, her essays, poems, and stories have appeared in literary journals nationwide. Visit her website here.