By Christina Lydia
There are some writers who have a knack at creating something refreshing; something that is so enjoyable, you don’t realize you’ve already read halfway. Kimiko Hahn has this quality. Brain Fever was an interesting and engaging and weird and funny read. There were moments of wordplay and creativity that made me smile and think “I can do this too!”. I especially enjoyed reading all of the tidbits on neurology and brain science (so cool!).
As we flip through Brain Fever, we read about moments and memories divided into segments such as: ‘Circle’ or ‘Puzzles’. Each segment held a grouping of poems that were strung together either by the segment’s theme or by a narrative that continued poem by poem. I found this to be a creative approach to poetry and to its traditional form. I was intrigued by the ‘Puzzles’ segment because a few poems were actual puzzles! So much fun to solve. Hahn strategically weave neuroscience, linguistics, and poetry into a form that takes scientific and academic literature to a much wider audience.
Hahn’s work covers topics on women, marriage, children, and love. Her work is said to be critical to 21st Century American poets and artists; I agree. Here’s a snippet from “The Dream of Knife, Fork, and Spoon”:
I can’t recall when more than one fork–
which to use first. Or what to make of this bowl of water.
I can’t see the place cards or recall any names.
The humiliation is impressive. The scorn.
No matter how much my brain “revises” the dinner
to see if the host was a family member–
I can’t recall which dish ran away with which spoon.
I highly recommend Brain Fever to any poet lover and novice who would like to read creative poetry written by a woman who clearly knows how to have fun with language.
About The Author
Kimiko Hahn was born in Mount Kisco, New York, and grew up in Pleasantville, New York, and Tokyo, Japan. She earned a BA from the University of Iowa and earned an MA in Japanese literature from Columbia University.
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Book image from Google Books. Author image and bio from Poetry Foundation.