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Mary Hickman's James Laughlin Award–winning second book, Rayfish, masterfully adopts and synthesizes the genre conventions of lyric poetry, nonfiction, and criticism, and extends the possibilities of each. Drawing on her childhood in China and Taiwan and her experience as an assistant in open-heart surgery, Rayfish combines the urgency and vulnerability of the lyric with meditative autobiographical accounting and the voices of numerous artists (Francis Bacon, Eva Hesse, Chaim Soutine, Ida Applebroog) to produce an uncanny chorus of voices. Haunted by the implications of making, these poems question how human beings can, with their limited resources (hand, material, vision, will), "fight against the monsters...against neuroticism and fear." Rayfish brings the thinking of the collective into even greater alignment with the intimacy of the lyric, seeking a global space of communication and contact in a world increasingly at risk.
About the Author
MARY HICKMAN was born in Idaho and grew up in China and Taiwan. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow, and is the author of This Is the Homeland. She teaches creative writing at Nebraska Wesleyan University and in the University of Iowa International Writing Program’s Between the Lines exchange program.