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Beneath a Portrait of a Horse

Cynthia Hardy

ISBN: 978-1-907056-40-6

Page Count: 78

Publication Date: Saturday, May 01, 2010

Cover Artwork: 'Prince' by Sue Farnham -

About this Book

Cynthia Hardy has endured Alaskan winters, hard cold and darkness more than half the year. Such extremity wears on love, and on lovers who 'in the dark window' glimpse their own eyes looking in.  These poems look inward, where 'we are ourselves and not ourselves' and outward where one pebble holds 'all the pressure of the earth's ages.'  This writer knows that all we love will vanish. So her poems allow us to look hard - at meteor showers and burrowing mollusks, at horse's manes and wildfire smoke. Ice fog and darkness, a lover walking away - these balance the promise of salmon spawning upstream, letting go rich promises of milt and roe. 
Peggy Shumaker

The masterful poems of this gentle and fierce collection carry us upward, with 'the flash of white wing against a dark hill,' but also downward with rain, 'through / shale and schist / to the deep running / aquifer where roots / of birches stretch / to drink, then, above us / unfurl tight buds.'  Again and again, Hardy discovers her own incarnation of what Gerard Manley Hopkins calls 'the dearest freshness deep down things'and delivers it wrapped in sparkling language, in which cold is 'sharp as ginger' and a horse leans over a fence, 'stretching her lips towards fireweed.'
Angela Ball

Through the title poem's 'scrap of moon tumbling across the grass,' 'waiting for any gate to open,' readers encounter poems of a mare''s heart and keen instinct well out of the starting gate. From expectation and celebration to love and loss, Hardy's first full collection embraces the artful details of lived experience, 'the hurt that keeps [us] whole.'
 Jerah Chadwick

Author Biography

Cynthia Hardy was born in Salisbury, Maryland and grew up in horse and farm country in southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Penn State University and holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and  a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.  A past recipient of an Alaska State Council on the Arts Individual Artist grant, she has published poems and stories in Permafrost, The Northern Review, and Ice-Floe:  An International Journal of the Far North.  Her chapbook, We Tempt Our Luck, was a finalist in the 2008 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Chapbook competition.  She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she teaches at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, dances, gardens, and tends the horses that appear in these poems.

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