Recombinant Loves

Original price was: $11.00.Current price is: $8.00.

poems by

Lisa Haag Kang

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages, cover price $11

($8 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-425-9

Release date: June 11, 2013



Lisa Haag Kang

Lisa Haag Kang lives in Washington, Missouri with her husband, four children, three dogs, and the occasional hamster. When not writing, she teaches a variety of civilization, philosophy, and composition courses at several colleges and universities in the area. She loves to bring history to life for students and readers, and is a frequent contributor to Calliope and Dig, world history and archaeology magazines for children ages 8 to 14. Her poetry has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry, Spillway, Lindenwood Review, Earth’s Daughters, and other journals. She is currently working on a YA novel in verse.

Open Recombinant Loves and you will immediately be made uneasy in that delicious way only good poems can achieve. Kang’s book is part portrait of early 20th century ancestors, part mythological exploration, yet always a fascinating and skillful mix of the archaic and modern. In “Wedding Portrait,” she describes a woman with a “clenched” pompadour sitting by a figurine: “even as the fragile horse rears/ and strains as if to climb Jennie’s bent knee/ beneath her black dress, its excess- / bows and pleats, mutton sleeves,/ a high-necked, ruffled cicatrix.” I am amazed by Kang’s versatility in this collection, how seamlessly she moves from past to present, from Wisconsin to the Gobi Desert. “And in my body’s/ double helix spirals./ I think; I am,” Kang writes. Her poet’s eye is keen, her language intricate, her voice confident. In these lovely, often dark poems, she dissects and uproots, she narrates moments. She spares nothing. She shows us how the universe manifests in the body.
–Eve Jones


Lisa Haag Kang creates stark and lasting images, pulling us into the world of her poems. Characters and moments are illuminated through lines like lace-curtained light and The train-shriek never stops and The bones of the Earth are exposed. With its unexpected turns in language, structure, and emotional weight, Kang’s poetry sings with a voice that is somehow both startling and hypnotic.
–Beth Mead


The Saw Sharpener Watches Jennie, Across the Way
Medford, Wisconsin 1906

Today, it’s a two-man to fell
the largest trees, proud

like your square-shouldered stride
breasts thrust round and high

or your level eyes
when you say Good evening, sir.

I wet a soft cloth
wash the two-man clean, watch

you across the way in the dress
shop’s plate-glass window.

I hear you sleep in the back room.
A stiff wire brush removes the rust

and fouling-your father,
his drink and squalor.

Today, you’re on your knees
head bowed, mouth a tender o.

You bind a lady’s dragging hem.
The lumberjacks will have to wait

and you, until I find the angle
clamp it in my vice,

set the teeth, one by one-
file them down ’til they look fine.

Trophy Hunter

Fascinate family and friends.
You, too, can serve
wine with a voluptuous
pear inside the bottle.
It’s not hard to do.
First, choose a pear
that is immature, still growing
on the tree. Be sure
to choose a strong one.
Slip the bottleneck
over the fruitling, but do not twist,
or bruise. Secure the bottle.
You’ll find that the pear
will mature with abandon
in its translucent shell.
When the fruit fills its container
pull, gently, to snap the tender stem.
The pear will sink to the bottom
of the bottle. Pour in your favorite
brandy or wine.
The effect will be stunning.
How did it get there?
People will ask.

Jennie’s Song IV: My Lover is Like the Springtime, Rain
After “My Lover is Like the Bright Sun” by Kathleen Driskell

Like the spring rain shining
in its ebb and surge
you are. I stand with you,
arms outstretched–
dancing in your colors. Our faces
powdered with your indelible love,
and you–the hope I waited for so long.
We were so hungry.

If you would like to read more of Recombinant Loves by Lisa Haag Kang, order your copy today.

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