Hard Damage (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry) (Paperback)
University of Nebraska Press, 9781496215703, 126pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2019
Invested in and suspicious of the pain of family and the shame of selfhood, the speakers of these richly evocative and musical poems mourn the magnitude of citizenship as a state of place and a state of mind. While Hard Damage is framed by free-verse poetry, the middle sections comprise a lyric essay in fragments and a long documentary poem. Aber explores Rilke in the original German, the urban melancholia of city life, inherited trauma, and displacement on both linguistic and environmental levels, while employing surrealist and eerily domestic imagery.
About the Author
Praise For Hard Damage (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry)…
“Revel in the rise of this searing, essential new voice. Aria Aber’s Hard Damage is an expansive debut that contends with the hard truth of how elusive belonging, and reckoning, is. . . . Every word, every phrase [of Hard Damage] is crafted to incise, with its electric currents of images that make up the lives of refugee mothers, fathers, and daughters, and the inherent homesickness of language, wars. This debut seduces, critiques, mourns, ruptures, replenishes—and not without humor and wit. By the end I found myself completely thrilled that poetry can have this many possibilities.”--Sally Wen Mao, author of Oculus
— Sally Wen Mao
“With disarming ease, Aria Aber’s Hard Damage leaps from the personal to the political, from song to theory, from Rilke to ‘Afghan blow,’ from a German childhood back to an earlier Afghani family history, ending up in a richly vexed American life. These juxtapositions are electrifying, eloquent. . . . ‘What is it that we owe to each other?’ Aber asks, calling us into ‘history’s collateral light.’”—Catherine Barnett, author of Human Hours
— Catherine Barnett
— Yusef Komunyakaa
— Solmaz Sharif
— Edward Hirsch