By Cathryn Hankla
As the opening poem “The Labyrinth Galaxy” suggests, this is not a book of astronomy, but a book of seeking and beseeching. Cathryn Hankla’s GALAXIES forms a collective of connected but disparate things. Each galaxy grouping constitutes a gravitational system of concern, finding its own music and approach to what a poem can be. Together the poems create a spiritual pilgrimage, a sequence sending up an alarm for the earth, inviting the reader to walk a path to the heart’s center.
As attentive to the natural world as to human emotion, Hankla has previously written prose poems and lineated verse in traditional and open forms, but in this inventive volume she allows each poem to follow its own trajectory, map its own metaphorical universe–to reveal the extraordinary range under this poet’s command. Hankla shifts through high and low registers, in a voice droll and urgent by turns, always observant and skillful at her craft.