Barnburner Review

Poetry. Barnburner by Erin Hoover is the winner of the 2017 Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award. Kathryn Nuernberger, contest judge, had this to say about it: "The epigraph to Barnburner is a call to burn it all down: 'According to an old story, there was once a Dutchman who was so bothered by the rats in his barn that he burned down the barn to get rid of them. Thus a barn burner became one who destroyed all in order to get rid of a nuisance.' There is honesty in this epigraph, raw and brutal, like the narrative voices in Erin Hoover's poems. But there's an irony at play here, an irony perhaps borrowing a bit from the ironies of Frost's 'Mending Wall': these poems don't burn down the cruelties of a homogeneous, racist patriarchy. Instead, they make a muse of it. A muse that can objectified, stripped bare, and put on a pedestal for all to scorn. Hoover fridges that muse so that one speaker of a heroine after another is vaulted by the shock of such violence into a journey of personal discovery. There are mean-spirited, ruthless characters in these poems and, in a kind of reverse Bechdel test, Hoover wipes away their inner lives and never lets them talk to each other about anything except those they have hurt."

Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Matthew Henschel

    This is such a powerful book. I read the poem “The Valkyrie” before the book came out, and it was legitimately one of the best poems I’ve read in a long, long time. I found myself coming back to...

  • Jaime

    I’m not a huge poetry reader, but this was really excellent. The poems touch on such a wide variety of topics - fertility, economic issues, class/privilege, intolerance, politics - but they all flow...

  • Eliot

    Bitingly dark, eyes-wide-open, tightly crafted poems....

  • Erin Hoover