Hannah Faith Notess
Co-Winner of the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize
We move through life haunted by a multitude of people and places that exist only in memory, by ancestors we never knew, and by myths we’re not sure we can believe. Even our videogame avatars are chased by ghosts. These poems explore spaces of everyday life that intersect with both sacred places and fantastical realms. The Multitude invites you to dwell in uncertain spaces between worlds, between the possible and the impossible.
"It's so delightful to have in one's hands a book that is at turns quirky, mysterious, weird, grave, and full of wonder. That will try every way it can—witches, video games, St. Augustine, elegies, doo lang doo lang doo lang—to convey to its reader, you, how strange and sorrowful and sweet this world is, you know?"
"Reading the poems in this equally dark and illuminated book I am reminded of the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, in which the religious text is read as if it were alive. And so I experience these poems as if they were alive, as if one can enter their very breath in the moment a word is said. Theologically, this book is a diverse and uneasy journey; conventional beliefs are both supported and upended by worldly experience, yet the poet has wisely decided not to pass judgment. The great mystery haunting and prompting this poetic course is never resolved, but it is richly and beautifully deepened. Whatever mystical spark has ignited these poems, the art is human and inspired—and a gift."
"How many times // has the thing I wanted stayed hidden from me, / obscured by my longing?' asks Hannah Faith Notess in poems that illuminate the spiritual, sexual, and geographical longings that tether us to earth yet prod us beyond the borders of our bodies: 'the drawbridge gapes open // like the gulf between Man and God, but nobody / is waiting to cross over, nobody wants to switch sides.' Driven by an unselfconscious and deeply felt (though uncertain) faith, Notess maps 'the two peninsulas / that wish to become an isthmus once again.' The Multitude is testament to the yearning that deepens us toward wholeness and opens us toward divinity."
The Multitude cover artist is Gala Bent.