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Tinderbox Poetry Journal review forthcoming

EcoTheo Review review forthcoming



"Hayes's restless and searching debut addresses the pain and disorientation of assimilation alongside the comforts of family....emotionally resonant and insightful....This debut provides an honest and moving tribute to the immigrant experience."

-Publishers Weekly


“Like someone displaced as a child and, after everything, living a perfectly ordinary, loving life, One Strange Country craves an ‘ordinary–– / type of happiness.’ Like family, like the past, ‘An exile’s life is planned out one day at a time.’ Like lonely, determined, maternal and ongoing––it’s complicated. ‘If silence had a sound, it would sound like loss without a heartbeat.’ Stella Hayes lives it.  And we do, too, in this marvelous debut collection of poems.” 

—Ralph Angel, author of the poetry collection Neither World (1995), winner of the James Laughlin Award, winner of the 2007 PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, and author of most recent poetry collection Your Moon

There is a raw thread of loss—of homeland, of family, of innocence—weaving itself through Stella Hayes’ exquisite and deeply compelling debut collection, One Strange Country. These poems embrace the reader with their beauty even as the darkness of their reflections reveal a wisdom born of experience. With its restless reckonings and mature power, One Strange Country is a book to hold close and treasure.

—David St. John, most recent poetry collection The Last Troubadour: Selected and New Poems 

“One Strange Country is as much a collection of maps as it is a collection of poems. They illuminate locations, meditating on what it means to leave a home—to leave a country—and start anew. At turns gleeful and elegiac, grateful and defiant, this book considers the state of exile. In “Monolith,” Hayes writes, “I am in a memory, in the generation I lived among you. / I stand against a world that has no use for paper.” The poet never shies away from her lonely mission, guiding readers through landscapes both seen and unseen.”

—Erica Wright, Poetry Editor and a Senior Editor at Guernica Magazine, former Editorial Board member for Alice James Books, author of Poetry collections Instructions for Killing the Jackal  and All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned

“There is an unflinching quality in Hayes’s attention to the world, or worlds, both interior and exterior, and the poems communicate first and foremost, a determination to seek out, or hunt down, elusive truths. As Hayes suggests in ‘Walking Through the Underworld,’ we are all from somewhere, which is to say, we are all haunted by origins, but we live in a kind of permanent exile from those ‘moorings of starting out.’”

—DeSales Harrison, Associate editor of FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Associate Professor of English at Oberlin College, author of the novel, The Waters & The Wild

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