Like the prairies that populate many of these poems, life often must be burned back to make way for growth. Lisa Hase-Jackson strikes the flinty surfaces of living and ignites a fire that both clarifies and illuminates. Spanning divorce, single motherhood, individuality, and love, FLINT AND FIRE is a collection that burns with brave and honest beauty.
~ Amy Fleury
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In an age of obfuscation and linguistic relativism, Lisa Hase-Jackson’s poems are radical in their precision, beauty, and hard-earned knowledge. Married to place and landscape, they spring up from the writer’s personal mythology, and, like a patchworked crazy quilt tossed over the shoulder, they provide comfort as they survey the vulnerable tension between form and space, gain and loss, “substance and grief.” There is a burning intelligence and passion at work in these poems. Flint and Fire crackles and glows with a purity of lyricism we had no idea we’d lived without and now know we cannot.
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Flint and Fire is a testament to American girlhood—poverty, violence, as well as persisting hope and joy. Flint and Fire is a testament to American womanhood—more poverty, more violence, and still that hope. Lisa M. Hase-Jackson’s poems are poems of survival —elegantly crafted testimonials, gorgeously empathetic narratives. She pays wildly democratic witness to addiction, racism, mental illness, incarceration, women’s shelter pamphlets, and subsidized apartment complexes. An important, fearless, beautiful wholly American debut.
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The major achievement of Lisa Hase-Jackson’s Flint and Fire is its ability to make plain the terrors of daily life through unflinching, direct statement. From the beginning to the end, this book is not shy about the need to question the ambitions put on us by capitalism and the assumed desire to join middle class America: “that we’ll catch up once we are happy, full, sated and clothed.” And this need to account for and to question becomes central in Hase-Jackson’s exact descriptions: “Store-front windows are thicker at the bottom/than they used to be and the Christmas wreath/in the antique mall, mired in wood smoke/and dust, is perennial now.” Flint and Fire is the beginning of a lovely career.
~Jericho Brown, Author of The Tradition