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Blooming Fiascoes is a collective of verse that deconstructs identity. We are beautiful and monstrous. We live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Ellen Hagan poetically mirrors these metaphoric adversaries, drawing on her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. She plumbs origins in history, body, and living to Blooming Fiascoes is a collective of verse that deconstructs identity. We are beautiful and monstrous. We live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Ellen Hagan poetically mirrors these metaphoric adversaries, drawing on her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. She plumbs origins in history, body, and living to question how we reckon our whole selves in the catacombs of a world gone mad: We mourn, we bless, / we blow, we wail, we / wind—down, we sip, / we spin, we blind, we / bend, bow & hem. We / hip, we blend, we bind, / we shake, we shine, / shine. We lips & we / teeth, we praise & protest. In these poems, Assyrian, Italian, and Irish lines seep deeper into a body that is growing older but remains engaged with unruly encounters: the experience of raising daughters, sexual freedom, and squaring body image against the body’s prohibitions. This is a work where the legacy is still evolving and always asking questions in real time. Blooming Fiascos spindles poetry that is not afraid to see itself and the lives it inhabits.


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Blooming Fiascoes is a collective of verse that deconstructs identity. We are beautiful and monstrous. We live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Ellen Hagan poetically mirrors these metaphoric adversaries, drawing on her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. She plumbs origins in history, body, and living to Blooming Fiascoes is a collective of verse that deconstructs identity. We are beautiful and monstrous. We live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Ellen Hagan poetically mirrors these metaphoric adversaries, drawing on her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. She plumbs origins in history, body, and living to question how we reckon our whole selves in the catacombs of a world gone mad: We mourn, we bless, / we blow, we wail, we / wind—down, we sip, / we spin, we blind, we / bend, bow & hem. We / hip, we blend, we bind, / we shake, we shine, / shine. We lips & we / teeth, we praise & protest. In these poems, Assyrian, Italian, and Irish lines seep deeper into a body that is growing older but remains engaged with unruly encounters: the experience of raising daughters, sexual freedom, and squaring body image against the body’s prohibitions. This is a work where the legacy is still evolving and always asking questions in real time. Blooming Fiascos spindles poetry that is not afraid to see itself and the lives it inhabits.

30 review for Blooming Fiascoes: Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. Blooming Fiascos is a book of poetry created from the authors own life experiences as not just a human being but as a mother, woman, female, partner, artist and poet. These poems are about identity and parts of ourselves that we hide away or feel ashamed to talk about or express. Many of these poems are brutally written and expressed and this poetry will not be for everyone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Pole

    Blooming Fiascoes by Ellen Hagan is a compelling collection of verse that explores the contradictory nature of our lives and, indeed, the world at large. Each verse is sharply observed, and does not shy away from stating the blatantly obvious, from the concrete to the more obscure. The tone alters from brutal to humourous, and certainly provides much food for thought. I particularly enjoyed the wit and wisdom of 'To The Rubber Band Holding My Jeans Together', which was sharp, unapologetic, and e Blooming Fiascoes by Ellen Hagan is a compelling collection of verse that explores the contradictory nature of our lives and, indeed, the world at large. Each verse is sharply observed, and does not shy away from stating the blatantly obvious, from the concrete to the more obscure. The tone alters from brutal to humourous, and certainly provides much food for thought. I particularly enjoyed the wit and wisdom of 'To The Rubber Band Holding My Jeans Together', which was sharp, unapologetic, and empowering. Many thanks to NetGalley and Northwestern University Press for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Dillon

    "An opening up of--burst forth. / Froth & radiate. A palette of gold wings / or what it means to fly. A magnificent / trundle of wolves dressed as children on my walk from Amsterdam Avenue. / Coco helado trucks that jingle a prayer / of flavored ice. Coconut & Papaya. / The way an avocado peels awake... " (Hagan 40) I've followed Ellen Hagan's work since I was a senior in high school, when I first read her 2010 debut Crowned. As a teen still parsing out what I was "allowed" to say in my own writi "An opening up of--burst forth. / Froth & radiate. A palette of gold wings / or what it means to fly. A magnificent / trundle of wolves dressed as children on my walk from Amsterdam Avenue. / Coco helado trucks that jingle a prayer / of flavored ice. Coconut & Papaya. / The way an avocado peels awake... " (Hagan 40) I've followed Ellen Hagan's work since I was a senior in high school, when I first read her 2010 debut Crowned. As a teen still parsing out what I was "allowed" to say in my own writing, I remember feeling struck by Hagan's confident poetic voice. Her words boomed from the page, roared with honesty, and sang with a quiet musicality. In reading her upcoming collection Blooming Fiascoes over 10 years later, I see that, while Hagan's life has changed in many ways, her poems still achieve that delicate balance of power and prosody. Blooming Fiascoes presents a range of identities and images that stand starkly against conventional expectation. A menstrual period "is a blossom, / the basin marked with blooming"; a body approaching 40 is capable of sexuality; a mother's mouth says "fuck" when her "youngest throws up in the bed--"; and a squished rat on the street glistens like "miniature prayers." Hagan beautifies the grotesque and complicates the sweet, maintaining steady rhythm and pulsing sound throughout. Alongside her strong sounds and themes, Hagan's attention to setting creates meditations on what we often overlook. Her odes particularly stood out, with titles like "To the Woman on St. Nicholas Avenue whose thigh was a wilderness blooming--," "To the broken mattress on Park Avenue & 167th in the Bronx" and "To the condom on 167th Street sprawled between Findlay & College Avenues." Although our pre-COVID lives aren't too far in the past, I read these odes with a sense of nostalgia; Hagan emphasizes how life outside of our apartments is beautiful, uncomfortable, and necessary for our humanity. Ellen Hagan is a woman, mother, educator, and writer who understands the importance of being all four at once. Her upcoming collection honors that the world is blooming with fiasco, as is the self, but we can still reflect with a contented sigh: "All of it. Such abundance yes. / Such luck to love this much" (58). Read Blooming Fiascoes if you...watched "Pretend it's a City" on Netflix; love Sharon Olds's poems, particularly her odes; are not afraid to hunt for trash treasures left by the curb; prefer your poems to have ampersands; love Aracelis Girmay's Kingdom Animalia. This review appears in the January 2021 issue of Shelf Life: https://mailchi.mp/0743581a1908/issue...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Jane Thorne

    The author uses her past experiences as a woman, mother, artist and a human being in order to deconstruct not only the image of identity but also the idea of what our identity should be. ‘Blooming Fiascoes spindles poetry that is not afraid to see itself and the lives it inhabits’. Humorous, messy, outspoken, awkward, brutal and brilliant. Each verse provides deeper insight into the messy, fragile and awkward parts of our identities which we are usually ashamed to talk about. My favourite lines fro The author uses her past experiences as a woman, mother, artist and a human being in order to deconstruct not only the image of identity but also the idea of what our identity should be. ‘Blooming Fiascoes spindles poetry that is not afraid to see itself and the lives it inhabits’. Humorous, messy, outspoken, awkward, brutal and brilliant. Each verse provides deeper insight into the messy, fragile and awkward parts of our identities which we are usually ashamed to talk about. My favourite lines from the book are: ‘not your accessory or trophy, you cannot polish me until I shine. I’m already glowing without you’. I received an advanced review copy for free, and this is my honest opinion.

  5. 5 out of 5

    rin rose

    i got an early copy of this collection to review from netgalley, and i am glad to say i thoroughly enjoyed it. a testament to womanhood, motherhood, ancestral ties, and how to live a life worth something, blooming fiascoes was a refreshing and enriching read. i will say, however, some of the longer form prose poems felt unedited? perhaps that’s just the style which i’m not generally drawn towards but it felt a bit verbose in the sense that there was a lot of talking around the point just for the i got an early copy of this collection to review from netgalley, and i am glad to say i thoroughly enjoyed it. a testament to womanhood, motherhood, ancestral ties, and how to live a life worth something, blooming fiascoes was a refreshing and enriching read. i will say, however, some of the longer form prose poems felt unedited? perhaps that’s just the style which i’m not generally drawn towards but it felt a bit verbose in the sense that there was a lot of talking around the point just for the sake of talking. that said, i would recommend picking this up and am interested in checking out more of this poets work!

  6. 4 out of 5

    McKenzie

    Poetry, for me, is very subjective. Sure, you can appreciate the artistry of a well crafted sentence, but that doesn't mean that you enjoyed it or that it spoke to you. This is one of those cases for me. There is definitely someone out there that is going to enjoy this collection, but the imagery and the experiences just didn't speak to me. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing an eARC of this in exchange for a review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Poetry, for me, is very subjective. Sure, you can appreciate the artistry of a well crafted sentence, but that doesn't mean that you enjoyed it or that it spoke to you. This is one of those cases for me. There is definitely someone out there that is going to enjoy this collection, but the imagery and the experiences just didn't speak to me. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing an eARC of this in exchange for a review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Georgi_Lvs_Books

    Ellen states that we live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Her poetry is about her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. I’m sorry, this collection of poetry wasn’t for me. However, I’d you like poetry you should give this ago.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Danni Quintos

    I loved this book. Ellen Hagan writes for the girls we were, the girls we carry with us, the girls we help raise & the women we want to become. I have always loved the lists & abundance in Hagan's work-- how the many facets of herself and life catch the light just right, even if "the light is all wrong" (from "Self-Portrait at 36 with David"). When I read this collection, I hear her voice: gravel, twang & lilt, Kentucky & the many other lands she invokes. Blooming Fiascoes is a teacher, a friend I loved this book. Ellen Hagan writes for the girls we were, the girls we carry with us, the girls we help raise & the women we want to become. I have always loved the lists & abundance in Hagan's work-- how the many facets of herself and life catch the light just right, even if "the light is all wrong" (from "Self-Portrait at 36 with David"). When I read this collection, I hear her voice: gravel, twang & lilt, Kentucky & the many other lands she invokes. Blooming Fiascoes is a teacher, a friend, a much-needed balm.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gina

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz Baldwin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Northwestern University Press

  12. 5 out of 5

    David James

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Jones

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  18. 5 out of 5

    Faith Cantrell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maximilian Wolf

  20. 5 out of 5

    rosalind

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krupa

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joniece

  23. 5 out of 5

    Read | React | Review

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lilteacup

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana Pitsiladi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Balikis

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcela

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marie Claire

  29. 4 out of 5

    zena

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Waters

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