A review of

Collected Poems

by Lynda Hull

Central question: What’s the most beautiful thing in Newark, New Jersey?
Format: 256 pp., paperback; Size: 6" x 9"; Price: $15.00; Publisher: Graywolf Press; Editors: Jeff Shotts, Mark Doty, David Wojahn; Print run: 4,000; Book design: Kyle G. Hunter; Typeface: Berling; Book contains an introduction by: Yusef Komunyakaa; Author grew up in: New Jersey; City in which author wrote most of the book: Chicago; Musicians author had a passion for: Django Reinhardt and Chet Baker; Age at which author ran away from home: seventeen; Journal at which author was poetry editor: Ploughshares; Representative sentence: “A joke’s no laughing matter here.”

At the time of her tragic death, at age thirty-nine, in a 1994 car accident, Lynda Hull had published two prize-winning poetry collections and she’d written the poems that would become her posthumous third book. Her lush, intensely lyrical evocations of the underbelly of American urban life, driven by a sense of inevitable loss and degradation but also by a powerful attachment to momentary beauty, made her poems required reading for many in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Long out of print, Hull has slipped out of the consciousness of a younger generation of readers. Now, all three of her books are available in a single volume. It has much to teach us, especially at a time when irony and fantasy are the poetic flavors of choice.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Craig Morgan Teicher

Craig Morgan Teicher’s poems are due out in the Yale Review and Boston Review. He just returned from a residence at the MacDowell Colony.

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