By: Cathy Hankla
Poetry. From flashcards and sonnets to long poems that stretch over pages, varied and adventurous in form, Cathryn Hankla’s eighth collection of poems, GREAT BEAR, strikes a mature note in terms of tone, range, and subject matter. While her preoccupations with the vanishing natural world, and romantic and familial relationships remain persistent, in this volume she addresses the workings and ravages of time in a suite of poems situated on the islands of Malta. These meditations deliver us to the body’s permutations through time and art’s capacity to both see the moment and reach beyond it. The title elegy for a student and friend also examines the art of teaching, a practice of love for which there is no ready gratification, no true measure of result. GREAT BEAR invites readers to share in great emotions from erotic love to grief. Winner of the James Boatwright III Poetry Prize and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Award, Hankla remains an approachable poet, serious about her craft, who isn’t afraid to delve and discover new worlds.