In Between Us Margaret Hasse brings her distinctively lyrical voice to bear on a range of experiences and states of being. She writes with precision and surprise about connections with both the natural world and with people.
The events Hasse writes about are often familiar-riding a bike knitting a scarf downsizing possessions-but they're transformed by her sensitivity to the tender interior the nuance of emotion the overlooked but essential detail. Hasse also explores life's difficulties and damage-the loss of a long-time friendship a student who cuts herself a shocking kidnapping-in poems that carry a somber or anguished tone.
In poems about camping and hiking in the wilderness we hear the song of invisible birds and the communal hum of insects. In "Near Easter " where deer appear with their "black-walnut eyes" to graze new grass Hasse concludes: "Today I believe everything."
Such expressions of unexpected joy are one of the hallmarks of the collection.
Margaret Hasse grew up in Vermillion South Dakota. After graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in English she moved back to the Midwest in 1973 and has made her home in the Twin Cities since then. She has been an inspiring teacher in numerous poetry writing classes residencies and workshops ranging from introductory experiences for new writers to advanced classes. Hasse has worked in school classrooms colleges and universities The Loft Literary Center correctional facilities community organizations mental health facilities and senior centers. Her M.A. in English is from the University of Minnesota.
Hasse is the author of five collections of poetry: Stars Above Stars Below (1984 reissued 2018) In a Sheep's Eye Darling (1988) Milk and Tides (2008) Earth's Appetite (2013) and Between Us (2016). Stars Above Stars Below won the Minnesota Voices Project competition of New Rivers Press. In a Sheep's Eye Darling won Milkweed Editions' Lakes and Prairies contest. Three of her books were finalists for a Minnesota Book Award and twice her books have been awarded the Midwest Independent Publishing Association's annual prize for a book of poems. She received McKnight Foundation Fellowships in 1985 and 2006 a Jerome travel grant in 1993 a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1993 a Loft Literary Center Career Initiative Grant in 2009 and the Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships in 1983 2010 and 2016.
"The poems in Between Us call out back and forth between the joys that fill our hearts and the griefs that empty them in the way that poetry has done since ancient times: sometimes in stunned bewilderment sometimes with blazing assurance." &ndash Jim Moore author of Underground: New and Selected Poems
"You have found the very book&ndash&ndashit's in your hands right now&ndash&ndashthat you will love for its wit and heart and for the lyricism that is a hallmark of all of Margaret Hasse's work. Her imagery is marvelous. The book brims over with wonder and affection for the world." &ndash Connie Wanek author of Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems
"Margaret Hasse's latest collection is a moving blend of eclogue and elegy sweeping from the island of Patmos to a cemetery in South Dakota. Along the way we are given sweet revelations about the familiar world for example one poem ends with these lines: "All night the river pours / its heart out over the rocks." I'll never again hear a river without thinking of that metaphor. Between Us-it's a book you won't want to miss." &ndash Joyce Sutphen author of Modern Love & Other Myths