This reissue of Stars Above Stars Below originally published in 1984 will reacquaint readers with the early work of Margaret Hasse one of that remarkable generation of women poets who came of age in the 1970s. Although Hasse was only 34 when the collection won the annual Minnesota Voices Project sponsored by New Rivers Press its unique blend of lyric and narrative qualities already carried what Patricia Hampl recently referred to as "a rare 'old soul' authority."
Readers approaching her work for the first time are in for a treat. Those who are familiar with her more recent books may recognize some of the same themes: delight in sensual experience understanding of life's fragility appreciation for the largess of memory and rapt engagement with the natural world especially the prairies and lakes of the Midwest. As Hasse writes in a poem about hiking alone and listening to bird song: The stiller she is the more everything speaks / in the immense vocabulary of being.
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.