Read Tender Hooks: Poems by Beth Ann Fennelly Online


Beth Ann Fennelly is fearless in delineating the joys, absorptions, and—yes—jealousies of new motherhood. Having studied motherhood "as if for an exam," reality proved "wilder and deeper and funnier" than anything she'd anticipated.Tender Hooks is Fennelly's spirited exploration of parenting, with all its contradictions and complexities....

Title : Tender Hooks: Poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393326857
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Tender Hooks: Poems Reviews

  • Sharon
    2019-05-11 05:05

    I was drawn to Beth Ann Fennelly's poetry after first reading "Telling the Gospel Truth" in The Kenyon Review:I want to womanizethe Bible, rend it, render it homey,homemade, I lust to cut-and-paste.Let us start with the stable.Let it be a real stable, and let Mary be angryat the filth of it, at dust sifting from the rafters.Let her grow resigned as cracks of light are grouted by night,let her grow out of mindas the invisible fist grabs gutsand twists,then twists harder,This poem was a slap that woke me up and got my attention. With its long exploration of birth, the Bible, loss, and motherhood, it expanded my ideas of what a poem can be and can do."Tender Hooks," which includes this poem, takes the themes of motherhood and faith, loss and hope, and crawls deep under the skin with them. At times, the honesty, depth, and extent of Fennelly's emotions over the loss of her first child takes me out of my comfort zone. This is a good thing. This book contains poems that challenge me to face unspoken fears, but it also contains moments that cherish infancy, that celebrate the mother-child bond, and that revel in the strange fascination all parents feel with their children.In the end, this is a book that resonates with me because I'm the mother of two young daughters and also because it is poetry that illuminates and reveals in unexpected ways.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-04-27 07:54

    Loved this book, given to me by a friend who is a mother, in part because she knows I love poetry, and also because I am a father of five, including still little ones. I came to this poet through a poem I found in a collection of baseball poetry, a poem about her, as a little girl, being taken to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field by the father she loves, who also happens to be drunk and drunkenly neglectful. She captures the painful, almost tragically sad vulnerability of herself as a girl, not quite getting the abandonment of that time, as her Dad comes back jocularly drunk with two melted ice cream cones in hand, after having left her in the stands to drink for several innings.... heart breaking. Then I read some of her work online, liked it a lot, actually contacted her about the possibility of her writing a poem for a collection of baseball poetry I was gathering...(that was out only conversation). What I liked about that poem and others was her courage to look at tough stuff with a kind of dark humor and sweetness. I liked the brash voice. So when I got this book I looked forward to reading it, but was unprepared for the baring of her soul and body in the way of Plath and Sharon Olds, that refusal to look away when looking at and back is so required. Her main subject is motherhood, the birth of her child, and its graphic and searingly honest. What pregnancy and birth do to the body, to identity, to all relationships.... and then there is a section on miscarriage, hard, and we get inside her bedroom for that. We get inside her bedroom for sex after such situations, too; we learn what these things feel like; there is often besides the Olds and Plath-like honesty something you also find in them, a dark sense of humor about everything: her body, her rich, loud emotional life... even about some jealousy about her daughter choosing Daddy... I have been reading Olds and it feels like they are in conversation with each other... though she only mentions Plath and Bishop in her text as women poets who are influences... I am reading everything she has written now. Can't look away; don't want to.

  • James Murphy
    2019-05-24 08:10

    I'm not sure why my favorite contemporary poets are women. That seems to be true, though. Now Fennelly joins the list. I'd not known of her until a matter of weeks ago. Pretty early in this book I was reminded of Sylvia Plath, even before I saw her spirit invoked by a blurb on the front cover. I think it's because one of Fennelly's prime themes here is her young daughter, just as Plath wrote about Frieda and Nicholas. The title refers to the tender hooks of love and need our children hold on with. And tenterhooks is anxiety. I don't see much of it here. Fennelly seems to see everything with an enlightened eye. I came to Fennelly via an erotic poem in an anthology. But she writes a nimble verse and uses muscular metaphors--about her daughter and motherhood, tinged with the sexuality that created the two. I like this poetry. Physically, too, this is one of the most attractive paperbacks I own. Much like the author, I imagine. When I finished I didn't want to put Tender Hooks away on a shelf.

  • Cassie
    2019-05-07 05:14

    Beth Ann Fennelly has a magical writing ability. Her poetry is so beautiful, raw, and honest. Her words will stick with me for a long time. What a delightful collection. One of my favorites is from Telling the Gospel Truth: " likewise I decided to stop picturing God as a white-haired old white man stop singing Him in hymns picture instead a gender less breeze who valued women and animals and gays and birth control and masturbation, I didn't know then that the threads I pulled ten years later would still be unraveling-"

  • Mairead
    2019-05-19 05:55

    I especially loved the imagery of a mom and baby being on a private island at first, Say Cheese, first solid food secret, and the one where she describes being jealous of her baby. Also, how she worked through feelings about the baby she lost was beyond moving.

  • Shannon Yarbrough
    2019-05-20 03:18

    Beautiful and visceral.

  • Jess
    2019-05-01 09:03

    I'm not a poet and I have no immediate plans to become one, yet I've always loved reading poetry by those much more talented than me. Last year during Women's History Month, my college put on a reading of Beth Ann Fennelly poems, and I was completely enthralled with them--I was happy to revisit some of her work for class.Of course, being a non-poet, some things do baffle me. It is hard for me to make connections sometimes with poetry, therefore, I tend to read a book of poetry like I should a novel--for me, it makes sense that the themes remain consistent, the tone constant, and the subject singular. So as I read this volume, I struggled to connect the haphazard, low-down, shame-faced "We Are the Renters" with the melancholic, grieving "The Presentation." Both are amazing, beautiful poems I read over and over again, but it made no sense to me that they were printed in the same book--"why," the fiction reader asks, "did the author not write one book of new adulthood poems and another book of new motherhood poems?" My favorite thing about this book was the motherhood theme--it isn't pretty. It's bloody and loud and scary, and the honesty shook me to the core.I'm still growing as a poetry reader, and I have a feeling I will be coming back to this volume for answers. There is just so much to be explored.

  • Craig
    2019-05-24 03:01

    Probably my favorite book of Fennelly's. Though I found less truly standout poems, I felt that the collection as a whole was very strong. In a previous review, I said that I felt she wasn't truly finding her voice. I definitely do not get that feeling from this collection whatsoever. Her voice is strong and challenging - emotional and yet coolly distant. I started reading this book the day after the birth of my first child - an interesting choice considering that it really deals with the darker (and at times more touching) sides of parenting as well as the loss of a child. Though dark, it is an understandable, real darkness - nothing forced or cliche. This is a human language, a deeply personal yet universal language of grief and triumph. (and yes, I realize that I have strung together several cliches in order to explain that it is a collection free of cliche. Please forgive me.)

  • Amber
    2019-05-11 08:13

    This book consisted of short and long poetry. I love poetry, but had a difficult time relating to and liking these poems. Don't get me wrong, I felt these poems were good, but Fennelly's poems are all about motherhood and what it's like to have a child. Since I've never had a kid, nor do I plan to, I didn't really understand it. I would recommend this book to any woman who has had kids; I'm sure they would find it much more emotionally intriguing than I did.

  • Jenna
    2019-05-07 06:59

    I love Beth. I love poetry. I love the subject of motherhood. But something in me kept having a negative reaction to her words. It was, perhaps, the miscarriage subjectry. I am still not able to handle it well. The positives reactions won out in the end but I care not to reread this particular book.

  • Katie
    2019-05-24 03:12

    Maybe the collection is a little uneven, and there's an awful lot of birth and babies in here, but there were moments I was captivated. (The long, sequence poem about a hunted eagle and what the speaker misses about Catholicism... ...)

  • Diana
    2019-04-23 09:01

    I admit that I am not the target audience for this book, but I am a fan of Fennelly, so I had to read it. If you're not looking for poems about motherhood, it may not strike a chord. The poems are finely crafted, but the theme of parenthood was not for me.

  • Rob Hanson
    2019-05-14 01:16

    Beth Ann is a beast. "From the kitchen, fixing her bottle, I hear it: two milk teeth against my beer can." Her memoirish style of poetry makes her writing so intimate, so real. "and you find yourself thinking/when you're supposed to be sleeping/a bullet surprise would be fine"

  • Caitlin
    2019-04-25 04:03

    such a lovely book. honest, graceful, and unashamed of its own warmth.

  • Lauren Gail
    2019-05-16 09:07


  • Renee
    2019-04-24 09:22

    amazing, just completely amazing. knocked my socks off.

  • Erin
    2019-05-15 03:16

    Although I thoroughly enjoyed Fennelly's poetic voice the subject matter of the book (motherhood) was not as interesting to me since I do not have any children.

  • Mary
    2019-05-06 05:56

    I read this everyday. She is my bestfriend now.

  • Erin
    2019-05-21 09:09

    Best book of poetry I've read since Eavan Boland's In a Time of Violence, or Against Love Poetry. Beth Ann Fennelly is funny, smart, and unapologetically real. Full marks for Tender Hooks.

  • Jeanne
    2019-04-24 03:22

    A great and very funny poet talks about motherhood through poems. I usually avoid mommy books, of all types, but this one is fantastic.

  • Meg
    2019-04-23 00:53

    poetry,1st edition

  • Misha
    2019-05-14 08:56

    Some great parenting poems in here, and a great one on breastfeeding. I was unprepared for the miscarriage stuff there--powerful, but hard to read.

  • Marguerite
    2019-05-20 01:02

    A reminder of how absorbing/overwhelming motherhood can be. Fennelly's language is accessible, and I especially enjoyed her thoughts on writing and religion.

  • Kirsten
    2019-04-23 08:18

    I normally don't read poetry, and am squeamish about "motherhood" books, but this was amazing, unsentimental, unapologetic, funny, and inspiring. I'd read this everyday.

  • Mia
    2019-05-23 00:58

    I was drawn to this as memoir, not as poetry.