Codhill Poetry Award Winner 2017
Between the destruction of angels, creation of philosophers, and use of mythological creatures, Fraying Edge of Sky captures a side of the other-world humans don’t see into very often: “A walking stampede, slow and terrible. / The hospital for nonexistent children. / A mountain devouring clouds.” Hanson’s beautiful lyricism and shocking imagery coalesce in wonderment, in poems that play with the power of light and dark, ultimately haunting the pages that make up her magical book, reminding us over and over of how “We are giants over the fallen.”
Collect light in a bucket of water,
pour it off slowly—keep the light
from breaking, watch it seep into soil.
Now it is dark;
time to get rid of the night.
Dig a hole to drain it.
See how the hole already brims over
with darkness, saturated.
Dig deeper, with more urgency.
Mine the blackness.
Keep pushing until fog rises up.
Realize you are nothing.
* * *
The beautiful and fanciful investigations in Danielle Hanson’s Fraying Edge of Sky are homages to magical realism but are also lyrical bursts in splendidly gilt frames. The precise language of the poems conjures up the overlooked details of a world that, in its hurry, will miss them. The light in a bucket of water, the ribbon-like fog, the small mice who are angelic in their infestations—all are an inventory of the miraculous that Hanson’s truly original voice urges us to hear and to hold close.
—Oliver de la Paz, author Requiem for the Orchard
Dismantling worlds only to rebuild them anew, Danielle Hanson’s poems, little worlds made cunningly, as Donne would call them, expose the surrealism behind the most ordinary things. Take the tailor who “starts by sewing the fraying / edge of sky to a rock” and begins sewing a whole menagerie until he “creates / a daytime field of constellations, / embroidery of a new creation.” New indeed. These are visions like none other and if you want to see with the kind of fourfold vision Blake suggests, this original, this most precious of books is for you.
— Richard Jackson, author Broken Horizons
Danielle Hanson’s Fraying Edge of Sky traps the sun with mirrors, drowns the moon, staples spiders to the sky. There are strategies and curses, negotiations of light and dark, and, throughout, an ever-thickening swarm of angels that collide, that turn to blood, that infest. Photographs are empty, and even those emptinesses are deleted, leaving new emptinesses that are filled by a relentless drive to see things simultaneously as they are and what they intend to be. A lizard pretends to be a stone, but we still know it is a lizard; it is the pretending that strikes us. This is the heart of Hanson’s poetry: artifice that shows the truth.
— Bradley Paul, author Plasma