It’s with great pleasure that I introduce Pamela Hart’s debut poetry collection, Mothers Over Nangarhar (ISBN: 9781946448262, on sale January 8, 2019), selected by Rowan Ricardo Phillips as the winner of the 2017 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. In his foreword to the book, Phillips calls Mothers Over Nangarhar “a beautiful, strong, and vulnerable work for our beautiful, strong, and increasingly vulnerable world.”
Mothers Over Nangarhar is an unusual and powerful war narrative grown from two experiences: Pamela Hart’s involvement with a group called the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, and Hart’s own struggles with having a son in the military. When a son exists in a faraway land of war—a land which seems so illogical and dangerous—how does a mother cope? For Hart, it’s by using her son’s letters, news stories of IED explosions, stories shared in Red Cross support groups, and classic art as landmarks for a Calvino-esque terrain, a mapped experience where an imagination informed by anxiety can serve as a mother’s guide to securing hope.
Publishers Weekly calls Mothers Over Nangarhar an “honest and compassionate debut,” and Kathleen Ossip raves: “Mothers Over Nangarhar is a document, a warning, a lament—beautiful and dangerous.” A feature on Hart is forthcoming in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, and reviews are already confirmed in a number of publications.
Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art, where she teaches and manages an arts-in-education program called Thinking Through the Arts. She was awarded an NEA poetry fellowship in 2013. She recently received the Brian Turner Literary Arts prize for poetry. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals including the Southern Humanities Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Drunken Boat. Toadlily Press published her chapbook, The End of the Body. She is poetry editor and mentor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.
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