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Today's poem is "Let"
from Hand-Held Executions

Del Sol Press

Joan Houlihan edits Perihelion, an online poetry magazine. Her column, The Boston Comment, appears regularly on Web del Sol and Arts and Letters Daily. She is author of Our New and Smaller Lives, a chapbook published by Black Warrior Review and her work appears in such journals as Boston Review, Poetry International, VOLT, and Harvard Review.

About Hand-Held Executions:

"Joan Houlihan's rich, dense poems have a magical realist quality, in which the objects and occasions of the everyday are transfigured into talismans brimming with meaning and contained yet powerful emotion. These poems combine deceptively calm surfaces (punctuated by striking and surprising turns of phrase) with a sense of mystery and unfeigned intensity, like fables we'd forgotten having read, but find ourselves living out nonetheless. Grounded in the phenomenal world and blurring at the edges into other worlds just beyond sight, these poems traverse great distances in a narrow space. They have a rare music of language and imagery, and a striking sense of necessity and controlled passion. Joan Houlihan is a unique and vital voice in the somewhat enervated landscape of contemporary American Poetry.
—Reginald Shepherd

"Joan Houlihan is a uniquely talented poet and it is time for a collection of her writings. I have valued them for a long time (and I am not the only one) and enjoyed in them what I can only call a rage that refuses to settle for stunned silence and numbness but has been honed, or honed itself, to a fierce clarity and penetrated beyond itself into a new kind of tenderness, earned and believable. Blended with this admirable clarity is a witty and irreverant criticl intelligence determined to see and say its truth, and prepared to endure the rewards of doing so."
—Franz Wright



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