MSt alumna Alexandra Strnad’s H Is for Hadeda has been published by Poetry Salzburg. You can read more about it, and excerpts from it on, their webpage – and order it too.
From the Poetry Salzburg page:
““H Is for Hadeda is a luminous sequence of poems from a writer of great intelligence who combines elegance of expression with an excitingly visceral engagement with language. The polished surface, created by Strnad’s extraordinary dexterity and supple control of syntax and diction, belies deeper currents caused by the rift between older, Central European sensibilities and a newer, less urbane and sometimes less forgiving perspective. The preoccupations are spacious and wide-ranging, taking us from her Czech grand-mother’s Christmas biscuits and the ‘branches populated by pale aphids’ above the Café Meduza in Belgická to the mud-pool wadis of Thesiger’s Arabia, a photo shoot in the desert where the model is teamed with a falcon, a camel shedding ‘one bead of self-pity’ for its dead calf, the ‘aviation cocktails, silver travertine floors’ of the Burj and a young mem-sahib gasping in the heat of Hyderabad while dreaming of coldness and ‘a bed flanked by stalagmites’. It’s rare to find a writer who is at home in so many different contexts and elements and it gives the poems a constant sense of openness to different traditions of thought, of kinetically travelling forwards, of renewal and surprise; a wonderful, life-affirming debut.”
“These are poems of sensuous and edgy detail, alert to the beautiful fascination of the world’s unspoken and ancient dramas – ‘the fury is there: / a dark pip in an old fruit’ (“Prayer”) – all charged with a distinctive acuteness of observation. The collection’s canvas is wide – Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, the desert regions of the Gulf – but Strnad’s attention to the shimmer of danger and darkness is micro-precise, not least in her memorable title poem: ‘she / doesn’t mind, if his feathers are wood ash, his // dull eyes two burnt almond shells, his love call / a slasher-film scream’. A fascinating debut by a poet to watch.”