“Here, I see only what isn’t / and isn’t us,” Hannah Cohen writes in Bad Anatomy, and yet this chapbook is full to bursting with dark fantasy and whim, from “galaxy-flavored vodka” to “a green glass / bottle inside your stomach” that’s “never going to stop breaking.” A poet of self-deprecation, these darkly humorous poems provide an unyielding glimpse into the anxieties of selfhood, and the ways that the imagination functions as a fool-proof escape: “Inhabiting a body is easy. But living / in one?”…I’m not / Hannah tonight. She’s only the crow in my ribcage.” With Cohen, readers will learn all the ways we betray ourselves and then forgive ourselves. – Emilia Phillips, author of GROUNDSPEED and EMPTY CLIP.
Hannah Cohen is a poet who isn’t afraid. Cohen’s chapbook starts off with an inverse aubade, the last line digging a knife into my heart, “I leave/nothing.” The rest of the chapbook follows suit, except Cohen leaves a lot. Cohen leaves my heart, my lungs, my brain, my kidneys, my mouth full with everything I can muster to feel. Cohen wonderfully brings us into the grotesqueness of the modern world and the internet with its fast-paced ability to give us information and experiences (“Today I learned there are babies/born with their intestines/outside their little baby bellies./I don’t know how I spent/three hours on Google”). She does this in a way that feels real and original, lending her voice out into the world. – Joanna C. Valente, author of MARYS OF THE SEA and editor of A SHADOW MAP: AN ANTHOLOGY BY SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.
Hannah Cohen is a strong new voice the poetry community needs. The speaker of these poems is a woman haunted by her own vulnerabilities, a woman creating the strength-shield she needs to navigate and survive this life. To protect herself. How true these poems reflect the nature of merely existing in a world in which everything seems stacked against you, even your own self: “This red/ without life, and I can’t stop the betrayal” (from “Upon Starting My Period After the Election”). Couple this with the “I myself am half-hell/ and half-morning” of “Self- Portrait as Grendel” and you have the duality of living, the ping-pong of doubt and persistence.