Hadara Bar-Nadav is a singular voice in contemporary poetry. Her work often speaks to the aesthetics of violence and violation, offering an incisive deconstruction of suffering — and the power structures that set it in motion —-through the nuances of writerly craft. Here, expertly conceived poetic lines exist in tension with the sentence, becoming a kind of rupture done to voice, narrative, and the stories that make us ourselves. What’s more, Bar-Nadav’s pristine couplets and tercets offer only the semblance of orderly language, as her use of received forms evokes our attempts to impose order on unruly and disruptive experiences. What I love most about Bar-Nadav’s work is the ways seemingly small stylistic choices amplify, complicate, and call into question the story proper.
In “Wolf Child” and “Death Party,” these careful applications of writerly technique become entry points to questions that are sweeping in scope, forthright, and ambitious. “Wolf Child” begins in the domestic, yet opens out into questions of shared memory, collective trauma, and redemption. “Death Party” takes as its starting point the received narratives of history, only to move toward the symbolic, the realm of metaphor, language that generates possibility after possibility.
Hadara Bar-Nadav’s most recent book of poetry is The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017). Her previous books include Lullaby (with Exit Sign) (Saturnalia Books, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012), Runner Up for the Green Rose Prize; and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), awarded the Margie Book Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Fountain and Furnace (Tupelo Press, 2015), awarded the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and Show Me Yours (Laurel Review/Green Tower Press 2010), awarded the Midwest Poets Series Prize. In addition, she is co-author with Michelle Boisseau of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, 8th ed. (Pearson/Longman, 2011). Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, and others. She is a Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.