Poetry News

Lauren Russell's Debut Receives Starred Review From Publishers Weekly

By Harriet Staff
Lauren Russell, What's Hanging on the Hush, Cover

Publishers Weekly heralds the coming of Lauren Russell's debut collection, What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta Press, 2017), with a starred review! "Russell’s experimental and provocative style beautifully amalgamates traditionally non-poetic structures, arranging it all in a sort of controlled chaos." More:

Among her checklists, definitions, brief narratives, and streams of consciousness, her metafictional pieces warrant the most praise. In “Narrative Arc” she follows a series of lines about “Derrida’s cat” with a space and a single descriptive term: “Derrida’s cat looked at Derrida naked” is labeled action, “Derrida’s cat’s retinas contracted in the light” is process, and so on. Russell challenges societal norms when her speaker asks, “Do I wear my skin like a costume or a uniform?” Similarly, she confronts how social expectations can coerce a person into a performative well-being and how ignorance can invalidate one’s emotional complexities, deeming them acts of drama or whitewashing them as homologous states that are experienced without variation among people society deems unstable. What’s most striking is her skill at deriving rich meaning from otherwise unremarkable happenstance...

Read the full review at Publishers Weekly.

Originally Published: November 7th, 2017