Portrait Courtesy of the Author
Rage Hezekiah is a Cave Canem, Ragdale, and MacDowell Fellow who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Emerging Artist Award and she serves as Interviews Editor at The Common. She is the author of Unslakable (Paper Nautilus Press, 2019) and Stray Harbor (Finishing Line Press, 2019). Rage’s poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Cincinnati Review, The Colorado Review, and many other journals and anthologies. You can find more of her work at ragehezekiah.com.
Select Poems from Yearn
forthcoming summer 2022
Contour is a lie—a sensitive line. It grieves the separation between the body and the land. It asks the enduring question of illusive space: Are we indeed dissociable and, above all else, manageable? In a series of liberatory poems, Rage Hezekiah’s second collection, Yearn, speaks this boundary aloud by working up to its conscious edge. An anonymous voice agonizes over the invisible barriers to her own autonomy—“a bodily history of you do not/ belong”—through circular turns of youth and adulthood. Rather than a linear coming-of-age—an arch that reckons with a break—Yearn enfolds “everything unmine—/ the abundance I’ve been given.” Here, within visions of Californian bounty, the wound cuts as simply as a dissecting gaze, a schism as plain as “a plastic bar/ between us.” Liberty is just as easy. Like "my pulse, . . . the rivers toward/ their source," Yearn arrives again and again. This is an insistent cycle of resilience that blooms into adulthood all because, "still—/ I am this way: vocal, unafraid."
“The word is ‘yearn.’ Not ‘yearning’—not that soft. Yearn. A command. A dare. The poet’s directive to herself and to us, Reader. Do you want to feel your body alight & vibrating? Yearn. Rage Hezekiah’s poems walk that walk, show—in stunning images, in did-she-say-that? word-witchery—a woman making her desires known to herself, so she can step out to meet the life she wants to live. A wondrous, complex creature among wondrous, complex creatures. Not fearful or pretending, but beloved, ablaze, and open.”
—Evie Shockley, author of semiautomatic
“Rage Hezekiah's impressive collection pulses with a deep emotional intelligence. This book is filled with spare and beautiful verse that manages to explore the erotic, the familial, and the mundane with stunning wisdom. From the masterful use of the cento to poems in the traditions of Lucille Clifton and Danez Smith, this is a book that sings a necessary song. We are all richer in a world where Yearn can exist to help us consider these questions of consent and contemplation.”
—Nate Marshall, author of Finna
“Language sits on the threshold of feeling in Yearn, rides ‘the meadow’s limit.’ The natural world is a mirror for the graces and griefs within the season of living we witness in these poems. At its core, Yearn pulses green with erotic energy and interrogates the heart of desire and the thrill of insatiability.”
—Taylor Johnson, author of Inheritance