All Odd and Splendid


All Odd and Splendid


Hilda Raz

102 pages

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April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart
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May 2021


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About the Book

This collection of poems is an exploration of lives and selves transformed by choice and by chance. Formally and thematically diverse, these poems are testament to the will to redefine oneself in a world of constant, and often painful, change. Beginning intimately with poems of personal examination and moving gradually to the world of shared experience, Hilda Raz rethinks the structures of family and community while examining the impact of loss and growth. All Odd and Splendid takes its title from a quotation attributed to Diane Arbus, the American photographer known for her portraits. Raz's poems share Arbus's steadfast celebration of the strangeness in the ordinary, bringing us into contact with a beauty and pain that are inseparable when we see things as they truly are.


Author Bio

Hilda Raz is a former editor of Prairie Schooner and is the founding director of the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes. She was named the first Luschei Professor and Editor in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Raz is editor of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series at the University of New Mexico Press and poetry editor for ABQ (in)Print and Bosque Press. She is the author or editor of fourteen books, including her most recent book, Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986–2020, as well as Divine Honors, Trans, What Happens, and What Becomes You (with Aaron Raz Link), all available from the University of Nebraska Press.


“[All Odd and Splendid] is about how life looks and feels when fundamental categories of being have come unmoored. . . . A life as the mother of a daughter becomes [Raz’s] life as the mother of a son. Rather than mending this rip in the fabric of her existence, Raz magnifies it, turning gender’s failure to stabilize identity into a principle of representation.”—Joy Ladin, the Forward

“‘Why have I come / to arbitrary limits?’ asks Hilda Raz, provocatively, in this stunning . . . collection of poems that tests the generative potential of language and discovers its power to reinvent us. Narratives are stretched, bodies transformed, and deaths defied—all in the miracle that is this poet’s unyielding will to speak truth.”—Raphael Campo, author of The Enemy

“Hilda Raz’s All Odd and Splendid is unique, accomplished, and turns the ‘genderings’ of the world upside down, as they need be turned upside down. The poems are psychologically innovative and deft. There are tones of a masterpiece in this work.”—John Kinsella, author of The New Arcadia

“[This is] a gentle quotidian view of the world that then twists toward the sardonic/tragic; or else a steady drumbeat of hard life, out of which happiness and beauty flower.”—Janet  Burroway, author of Writing Fiction

“The poems evoke a sense of outreach, a powerful awareness of connection and need to care for one another. By example, Raz shows the importance of trying hard to understand others in all their strangeness.”—Floyd Skloot, author of The End of Dreams

Table of Contents

I. History: Everyone today looked remarkable
Water Ceremonies
All Odd and Splendid
He Graduates from Clown School
He/She: The Bike
Spring Snowstorm
Dante's Words
Sunday Morning, without Couplet

II. The Transfer of Power: So absolute and immutable
The Transfer of Power
An Evening
Infant, in New York
Eva Unwraps a Bandaid

III. War: Button, feather, tassel or stripe
The Public Baths
September 11
Fire Should Be Measured by What Didn't Burn
Paper Strip

IV. Seeing the Changes
A Friend
Her Dream
Objects When the Body Fails
Beloved, 24
Funeral, then Flu
The Changes
A Body of Water
Elegy for Two Poets

V. The Especial Shape
2 A.M. Migraine
Moving Pictures
Dark Haired, Dark Eyed, Fierce
Professional Travel

VI. All Odd and Splendid
Terza Rima
Tenor Part
Love This
Thank You Very Much

Credits and Acknowledgments

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