LULLABY (WITH EXIT SIGN) by Hadara Bar-Nadav


LULLABY (WITH EXIT SIGN) by Hadara Bar-Nadav


88 Pages

Publisher: Saturnalia Books
Purchase includes: EPUB, MOBI & PDF

Read reviews on Amazon & Goodreads

The poems in Lullaby (with Exit Sign), explore the very nature of the elegy as rite, memorial, mechanism for healing, and raw utterance. Bar-Nadav asks, what is the shape of grief—its forms, silences, and sounds? The muscular music of her language and whip-sharp syntax join forces with startling imagery. Prose poems dominate the collection, held in place by the phantom scaffolding of lineated verse in which the poet listens for her father who “knocks on a little paper door.”

A lullaby is meant to soothe, but as in nursery rhymes and fairy tales, a dark note is often struck. This counterpoint, this irony, this paradox is the catalyst and subject of the latest collection from award-winning poet Bar-Nadav. These are fiercely mournful poems that rage not only against death but also against the placid everyday world; they are the poetic equivalent of plates smashed, glasses hurled against walls. These are poems of lament and protest, often hallucinatory, sometimes surreal, as in “Prayer Is the Little Implement” with the lines “Little Woe Weep has lost her sleep, or / a hack of pills went up a hill to fetch a pain of daughter.” As the speaker recalls the agonized hospital vigil with all the torments of medical protocols, her struggle to come to terms with her father’s decline and death causes the eruption of strange and provocative pairings: “azure decomposure,” “radiant violence.” Lithe and percussive, furious and clever, taunting and disquieting, these elegiac poems, many of them exceptionally mysterious prose poems, subtly pay homage to Emily Dickinson in their poise and lash, their resplendent, if disconcerting, images and disquieting perceptions. — Donna Seaman

“This grand third book is a scrupulously crafted, brilliantly conceived sequence of poems. An essential and ravishing work.” — Lynn Emanuel

HADARA BAR-NADAV is the author of A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodbye, winner of the Margie First Book Prize 2005, and This Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012). She is associate professor of English at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

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