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Christine Hume

Christine Hume

Christine Hume is the author of three books and a chapbook: Musca Domestica, winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize; Alaskaphrenia, winner of the Green Rose Prize and Small Press Traffic's 2005 Best Book of the Year Award; Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense, a chapbook and CD (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2007) ; and most recently Shot (Counterpath Press, 2009). She teaches at Eastern Michigan University.

EMU Faculty Page
Here Comes Everybody Interview

Also by Christine Hume

  • Musca Domestica
  • Lullaby: Speculations on the First Active Sense
  • Shot
 

Alaskaphrenia

AlaskaphreniaAlaskaphrenia

$14.00 paper | 70 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-40-1
Publication Date: March 2004
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

Winner of the 2003 Green Rose Prize
Small Press Traffic's Best Book of the Year
An Inland Seas Poetry Book

"Alaskaphrenia is unlike any other book I have read—as indebted to Melville as to postmodern poetics, its pleasures are terrors, and yet all its terrors are sly and seductive, and necessary. ‘Even if you’ve never seen a dead person before, your body will know what to do’ is a typically, disturbingly ambiguous lesson the book has learned—this Alaska-of-the-mind Christine Hume offers us is a glittery, glamorous place of old words and new syntaxes, of elemental dangers and pleasures previously unknown to American poetry. It is, like Alaska, American and not, a place of plenitude and claustrophobia simultaneously. You’ll want to live there because it exhilarates."
        —Bin Ramke

"The harsh reality of Alaska drives these poems inward in search of a habitable world, though they mostly find the Snow Man’s ‘nothing that was there.’ For ‘winter pierces the brain direct’ and usurps even the imagination: this is a place where ‘fantastic animals stand beside real animals.' In spite of such obstacles Hume’s mind wittily and triumphantly takes wing—beyond what it knows and toward ‘whatever’s uncertain is alive.'"
        —Rosmarie Waldrop

"Hume has not outfoxed intelligence–with her way with words, her sound chains, her rhetorical detours, her artistic cunning to poetically reinvent, and distract–she has wooed it. Her words most often remin us of our inability to know what a poem is. If her forms distrupt expectations, they do so in a world made cunningly. We are armed with our capacity to imagine. The consciousness stays painfully awake. How, these poems ask and with dark humor, can words still sing in the music of noise?"
        —Molly Lou Freeman, Xantippe

". . . Alaskaphrenia combines seamlessly its feelings and the high-concept, place-creating theories it comes from. The poet's intellectual imagination and emotions never clash here; neither one loses sincerity from being given too much priority. Emotional density and Hume's active imagination meet perfectly to create a huanting book of disease, mainly a mental disease called Alaskaphrenia."
        —Scott Woodham, Anchorage Press

"If you put Gertrude Stein and Jack London into the machine from the movie The Fly, and mixed their DNA, this is book the reconstituted poet would write. These poems create and recreate a physical and a metaphysical Alaska, a kaleidoscopic, scary Alaska of the mind, where not only nature it seems, but language too can kill . . . Reader, be brave. Breathe deep; step into the frontier Christine Hume has opened for you."
        —Brent A. Terry, New Pages

"And although this book has plenty of surface glitter and language play, most of Hume's lines are not mere showpieces for her virtuosity. The book as a whole is almost relentlessly severe, lonesome, and flavored throughout with pitiless admonitions such as, 'Bears in spy skins approach. Never let what you think fool you.'"
        —Sun Yung Shin, Rain Taxi

"Hume’s felicitious aural patterning puts a sensational spangle and spin on her words. Her poems reward and reworld multiple readings with deeper ever and more pleasurable mystery."
        —Heidi Lynn Staples, Verse Magazine

"In Christine Hume's new book Alaskaphrenia, she creates a work that is just as much an exploration of the Alaskan landscape and mythology as a cartography of human consciousness. Her poems, dense, abstruse, and sometimes touchingly human, like the mythical worlds first discovered by ancient mariners, both draw upon and collapse the distinction between dialectical extremes we use to create meaning in the world."
        —Greg Hill, Bridge Magazine

"...Hume risks the very impossibilities she so effectively exposes, and ventures daringly into these most extreme territories—interior and exterior, textual and terrestrial."
        —Rusty Morrison, Talisman

Poem

The Truth About Northern Lights

I’m not right. I’m interfered with
and bent as light. I tried to use the spots,
for months I tried with rings.
Only now I’m thinking in cracks
that keep a modern light
lunged. I keep the porch light on
to burn you off in ghosted purls,
the licks of which filament me.
My Day-Glo tongue’s cutthroat.
Though I’m not clear,
I’m a sight whose star stares back:
it’s a new kind of dead;
it hides its death in my cinched
testicle. That bright burr makes me
unreal and itch. By the time
I’m something else, you’re making weather
with so-and-so. Drama tenants you;
it wades in queasy waves,
mottled to the marrow.
My mean streak beams neon
so I won’t be refracted
or led to reflections. My eyes
trick god’s and kick the careless reversals
of radio cure-alls. Rays suffer
until they clench the damaged night in me:
where I go out, gone as done
in a mood as black moving through.
Darkness sits there, pleased.
An iridescent ire could not go unaired,
my limbs wicking at the window.
Look out the window.
I’ve outened the world
to show you real barrenness:
a void a light
warps into want and then wants
until it warps all it glances.