Swan Hammer: An Instructor's Guide to Mirrors

Swan Hammer: An Instructor's Guide to Mirrors

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Author: Maggie Graber

Publisher: Wheelbarrow Books (2022)

This collection chronicles coming of age as a queer millennial in a twenty-first century America defined by the internet, climate crisis, and a growing disconnection that the poems within work to resist. Here, everyone and everything serves as a potential reflection for something larger than the poet can understand: an unknown debit card thief, the cartoon teacher Ms. Frizzle, The Weather Channel, an RV park, a dead poet. These poems seek to make something of the spaces between and reach toward a sense of the ecstatic just beyond. They are poems of imagination and vision that strive to look rather than look away, that attempt to capture a nebulous feeling before it is gone for good. Swan Hammer is an instructor’s guide to connection-making, of seeing and then seeing again, in ways that have been redefined in the age of the internet. Here is one poet’s wandering relationship to their own sense of what it is to be alive and queer at a time when there is so much on the brink of disappearing—and what a queer experience it is.

“Maggie Graber’s Swan Hammer is the kind of wild, hungry, ebullient, insolent, playful, sorrow-struck, yawping book of poems you did not know you needed until you notice the heap of rust at your feet knocked from the hinges on the door to your heart. And your heart peeking out and opening its mouth to sing along, and sing along, with Graber’s beautiful song.”

–Ross Gay