Fair Copy

Rebecca Hazelton

The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry

 


11/27/2012
Poetry/American
56 pp. 6x9



$16.95 paper 978-0-8142-5185-0
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Table of Contents


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The author recommends the following links:

“I Started Early:” Read by Blair Brown, Animation directed by Maureen Selwood, from Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor

Emily Dickinson from Poets.org

Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake

 

“On her twenty-ninth birthday, Rebecca Hazelton decided to take the first line of every twenty-ninth poem of Emily Dickinson and use it as an acrostic to write her own poems. Fair Copy, the edgy and compelling result of that inspired decision, is an implicit conversation across time as well as a contemporary woman’s search for meaning: ‘So this is the happy I’ve heard so much about.’ The journey to that moment of skeptical and nuanced amazement is a scintillating investigation of remembrance and regret conducted in dazzling poetry that dips into fairy tale, fable, and song: ‘In the morning’s noise, I spin/out a song I’m forgetting,/no, that you have, what/shouldn’t be missed, but is, but was.’” —Andrew Hudgins

“This astonishing debut comes with its own set of poetics, one that’ll have present-day readers slapping their foreheads and saying ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ and future readers devising poetics of their own. Good luck to them! It’s hard to imagine anyone else evoking the warmth, the appeal, and the nervous intensity of Dickinson’s poetry the way Rebecca Hazelton does with these poems that pay tribute to yet transcend their roots in the fertile soil of Amherst.” —David Kirby

“When we wear the coat of someone we admire, we are not that person but ourselves. The cloak is informed by the sensibility that dons it, just as a light dusting of snow is shaped by the geography underneath. What Rebecca Hazelton borrows from Dickinson is a swath of fabric worn in homage. But she’s not merely borrowing Dickinson’s clothes. Hazelton is making of that cloth a veil, a shroud, a bridal train. A skirt of daffodils. Green floss. The tapestry of kings. A simple pillow. Reading through this seamless artistry one quite forgets the seamster’s trick—‘On me it looked like mastery.’ Though the ghost whose sheets were taken lingers at the hem, she too attends as guest in this newly appointed and dedicated house that honors her. ‘Oh, someone else will sleep there now, and wake to the claxon of bird or flame.’” —D. A. Powell

Fair Copy, by Rebecca Hazelton, is a meditation on the difficulties of distinguishing the real from the false, the copy from the original. It is in part an exploration of the disparity between our conception of love as either true or false and the messy reality that it can sometimes be both. If “true” love is not to be found, is an approximation a “fair” substitute? These poems repeatedly question the veracity of memory—sometimes toying with the seductiveness of nostalgia while at other times pleading for the real story. Here, the fairy tale and the everyday nervously coexist, the bride is an uneasy molecule, and happiness comes in the form of a pill. Composed of acrostics from lines by Emily Dickinson, the collection retains a direct and recurrent tie to Dickinson’s work, even while Hazelton deftly branches off into new sonic, rhythmic, and conceptual territories.

Rebecca Hazelton (website) is visiting assistant professor at Oklahoma State University.