Blooming Fiascoes is a collective of verse that deconstructs identity. We are beautiful and monstrous. We live in a beautiful and monstrous world. Ellen Hagan poetically mirrors these metaphoric adversaries, drawing on her experiences as a woman, an artist, a mother, a transplanted southerner, and above all, a human being. She plumbs origins in history, body, and living to question how we reckon our whole selves in the catacombs of a world gone mad:
We mourn, we bless, / we blow, we wail, we / wind—down, we sip, / we spin, we blind, we / bend, bow & hem. We / hip, we blend, we bind, / we shake, we shine, / shine. We lips & we / teeth, we praise & protest.
In these poems, Assyrian, Italian, and Irish lines seep deeper into a body that is growing older but remains engaged with unruly encounters: the experience of raising daughters, sexual freedom, and squaring body image against the body’s prohibitions. This is a work where the legacy is still evolving and always asking questions in real time. Blooming Fiascos spindles poetry that is not afraid to see itself and the lives it inhabits.
“In this courageous and jubilant collection, Ellen Hagan implores the reader to embrace what is messy and difficult in the world—to see the rough, awkward edges of our daily lives as the buds that eventually sprout into a ‘migratory swarm of praise.’ These poems are exuberant. They throw tantrums and chuckle. They yearn. They reminisce about broken mattresses and ‘a miracle of pigeons.’ They revere women with endearing odes to daughters, mothers, friends, colleagues, women who fall asleep in bakeries and on buses. Blooming Fiascoes is a feast of image and lyric that reminds us there is magic to be made of torn jeans, traffic jams, and a daughter’s missing tooth, that we must carry all these things with us and ‘hold it like a charm.’” —Vincent Toro, author of Tertulia
"In today’s difficult times the poems in Blooming Fiascoes are a salve for the soul. The book takes its reader on a magic journey filled with wonder and enchantment. The poems are generous and alive, the language precise and stunning." —Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, author of Arrival: Poems (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, 2017)
“‘Her life a flare of yes.’ It takes much bravery and gumption to not choose the easy way. And to raise free girls, teaching them to also dare and discover. ‘Sometimes blood can be a blessing.’ Ellen Hagan gives us testimony, missive, lament and litany to light our travels through lyric love letters across generations and geography, singing odes even in desolate landscapes. ‘Such luck / to know love so well.’ Such luck to have this poet’s vision and exuberant portraits of experience in our hands.” —Kamilah Aisha Moon, author of Starshine & Clay