Find Susan Hahn's books on these sites
"One of the most original works of our time, this one is actually three: a diary, a play, and a novella. Or four, actually, since there are enough poems throughout to make a chapbook. And the subjects include love, heartbreak, a mother's death, a crisis in faith. A sumptuous buffet of what we think and how we feel, there's plenty here for everybody. Load your plate, reader, and enjoy."
The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter
Booklist: *Starred Review* In her psychologically astute, darkly funny and suspenseful first novel, best-selling poet, playwright and Guggenheim fellow Hahn (The Scarlet Ibis, 2007; The Note She Left, 2008) combines the absurd with the tragic in a unique take on the malignant legacy of genocide and the transcendent effort to channel pain into art.
Library Journal: Recommended for readers excited about writing that plays successfully with literary conventions.
"Susan Hahn's achievement in The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter is remarkable-vivid and deeply moving. A book unlike any I have read before, and a joy, I was sorry to reach its wonderful ending."
-DAVID H. LYNN, EDITOR, THE KENYON REVIEW
The Scarlet Ibis
Booklist *Starred Review* Hahn's lustrous and spiky poems radiate from a thematic nucleus in her distinctive collections, a death in Mother in Summer (2002), the body in Self/Pity (2005). In her piquant seventh book, an archly theatrical yet powerfully emotional work in three acts, Hahn's evolution as a playwright is evident. Here Hahn's attunement to the body's mysteries and vulnerabilities, her coy sexiness and sly wit give rise to a complex, imaginative, slightly surreal encounter between a scarlet ibis and a "lady" (such a loaded word). Crescent-billed, its red wings tipped with black, the scarlet ibis comes into focus as a living icon as Hahn considers the bird's links to ancient Egypt and ibis-headed Thoth. The god of writing, science, and magic, it is Thoth who judges the dead. Hahn's mettlesome scarlet ibis is a captive forced to perform tricks, as is the lady, a magician's assistant. As Hahn takes measure of the implications of servitude and invisibility, it is clear that both bird and lady (she has roots in Dachau) are facing extinction. Hahn's quicksilver poem-play is brilliant in its misdirection, camouflaging with plumage and word magic great depths of feeling and insight.
"Susan Hahn's new book, Self/Pity is beautiful, highly original, and brilliantly organized. Like her other books, it is full of inventive surprise, shifts of register, unexpected turns of idea and feeling and, also like her other books, with all this unexpectedness, there is no diffusion or scattering of effect. Self/Pity is so powerfully centered that each poem gathers and uses the strength of the others."
"There is a feverish melancholy about the poems in Holiday. And yet, they have an urgency, a desire for renewed life. An odd mixture of sorrow and hope, they are like rituals of refusal in the service of salvation. (Refusal to be captive of the past, and salvation as the precondition of freedom.) Out with the old, in with the new. Holiday marks a turning point for Susan Hahn, and is her best book so far."
"I love the psychological urgency in Susan Hahn's poetry, its ravening desire to make sense of our darker passions. Incontinence is a sensuous and harrowing book of expulsions, of torture, of obsessiveness confronted, and ultimately triumphed over through the healing powers of art. In the high stakes of these poems, writing itself becomes a soul's journey, a necessary means and instrument of redemption."