Hayden Saunier’s A Cartography of Home is another breathtaking example of what this poet does best: crafting sensuous language, weaving together word play and close observation.
Saunier’s clear-sighted vision is perhaps the tonic we need for a healthier world. --Pedestal Magazine
Why read poems in the midst of a pandemic? I go to poetry for a naked view of humankind: our cruelties, our quirks and kindness, our capacity for change. That’s here, in all the homes Saunier inhabits. The first piece invites the reader to join her at a table made of salvaged wood, “spalted through with hard luck, grease/disease, fat streaks of amber jam/…Sit down and eat.” Say yes. You’ll be well fed. -The Broad Street Review
These are poems that demand to be reread, not because there is anything difficult or obscure about them, but because, like gemstones in just the right light at just the right angle, they sparkle so magically.
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
...the poems’ serious contemplation of mortality and wilderness binds them together and makes them as important as any you’ll read this year.
-Broad Street Review
The interconnectedness of everything on earth, how we belong to it all, how permeable boundaries are between us and the natural world, how things sing and what they sing of are rendered with aching acuity. Whether a poem’s focus shines on a “rump sprung sofa,” a turkey vulture, or dazzling autumn trees described as “sugar maple drama queens,” even evanescence becomes rich and luminous in these poems. This is a gorgeous, precise and deeply graceful collection.
“Hayden Saunier is a poet of wit, irony, and a huge generosity of heart. Her voice is wise, deep, and resonant with wonder variations in tone, technique, and an attention to the line that gives her poems the sort of full and memorable body you hope for when you open a new wine that carried a curious and somewhat haunting label.”
--Laure-Anne Bosselaar, from the Foreword, SAY LUCK
“In these lucid and intriguing elegies, at the cold heart of calamity, there is a calm. This calm, a kind of wisdom, does not so much console as teach us that in the face the tragic one cannot help, at least for some time, to remain inconsolable. You will find, in spite of what I have just said, that these poems are funny and humane, sharpened by Saunier’s razor-edged wit. She tunes these poems with a keen ear and perfected pitch for the music of the American language. This is a breathtaking and stunning debut.”
Saunier's takes on the classics are refreshingly irreverent... There's plenty of grit to match the sparkle on display here....
-The Philadelphia Inquirer
...like any remarkable book, offers good company for the long distances we must travel. It helps us to face what must be faced.”
More Truly and More Strange:
100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems
edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, Persea Books, 2021
The Doll Collection
edited by Diane Lockward, Terrapin Books 2016
Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets
Valeria Fox and Lynn Levin, Texture Press, 2013