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Negative History
Hardcover - English

Negative history is a legal term referring to decisions that have been overruled or questioned in some way by an appellate court. Cathryn Hankla's Negative History alludes to such ambiguity in the domain of a more personal justice--as the title poem suggests: "Petals of morning/open in lucid order/opposed to the law.//Here is a question without an answer."

Through these enthralling poems, the reader enters spheres of history and emotion in which there are more often ironies to be observed than answers to be found or justice served. And yet what can be discovered through vivid visual detail, through the poet's eye, can lift us from our reliance on the world's determinations and into an appreciation of life's mysteries.

With the issues tackled in Negative History--individual and familial identity, cultural and emotional heritage--Hankla skillfully balances keenest loss with the gains some losses paradoxically make available ("Submerging yourself, you learned/to search the darkness").

This remarkable collection plumbs the depths of sexual and transcendent love ("Let me die trying to tell you/one word that might matter") and summons from those murky realms the feral nature of strong emotions and of our own fears ("I have unearthed/enough emptiness to survive"). In Negative History, Hankla professes the power of love to carry us from "where the press of heat healed the split."

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Publication Date
24.13cm x 15.24cm x 1.27cm
Age Group
NA to NA
Not Applicable to Not Applicable
Lexile Level
About Author

Hankla, Cathryn
She is an Associate Professor of English at Hollins College. a Recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Pen Syndicated Fiction Prize.

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