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Like Ash in the Air after Something Has Burned
by Fox Henry Frazier

Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 2017
Pub­lish­er: Hyacinth Girl Press

Genre: Poet­ry



Poet­ry. A chap­book by Fox Hen­ry Frazier.

Hyacinth Girl Press

My Review

I recent­ly sat down to re-read Fox Hen­ry Frazier’s Like Ash in the Air After Some­thing Has Burned, pub­lished by Hyacinth Girl Press in 2017. I first read this chap­book just about a year ago—as COVID-19 hit its stride in the Unit­ed States (the first of sev­er­al such surges), a few indie pub­lish­ers aimed to make quar­an­tine a lit­tle eas­i­er by send­ing out some com­pli­men­ta­ry books. Mar­garet, the Edi­tor & Founder of Hyacinth Girl Press, was kind enough to send me this chapbook—not for review­ing pur­pos­es, but sim­ply as a love­ly act of kindness.

Still I enjoyed Like Ash in the Air After Some­thing Has Burned enough to add it to my review queue any­way. Once 2020 final­ly came to a close and I got back to work­ing on Pen­cils & Pages (and after anoth­er hia­tus to deal with some health crises), I knew it was time for a re-read, and to get this review written.

First and fore­most, I have to note this book’s beau­ti­ful design. With it’s rib­bon bind­ing and flo­ral imagery, this is one of those books that you sim­ply have to hold in your hands. I love the con­ve­nience, porta­bil­i­ty, and (in some cas­es) acces­si­bil­i­ty of ebooks, but I’m grate­ful this one is in print. Grant­ed, I typ­i­cal­ly pre­fer print copies as a rule. But, in this case, this book is just too beau­ti­ful to not have in paper form. I’m not sure I can do it jus­tice in words, writer or not—you’ll just have to order a copy and expe­ri­ence its beau­ty for yourself!

But beau­ty isn’t enough to make a book worth read­ing, of course, or they wouldn’t instill “don’t judge a book by its cov­er” into any­one who’ll lis­ten. For­tu­nate­ly, Like Ash in the Air After Some­thing Has Burned has more than enough to offer in terms of text, too.

Any­one who’s read Boleyn can prob­a­bly guess that his­tor­i­cal poet­ry has a spe­cial place in my heart, espe­cial­ly when it comes with a fem­i­nist lens. Through nar­ra­tives of saint­ed women, in all their dar­ing, inde­pen­dence, and over­throw­ing of social norms, the poems in this col­lec­tion pro­vide just that.

Many of these poems focus on frag­ments, a stark con­trast to their lengthy titles. But, much like with black­out poet­ry, this is an effec­tive strat­e­gy. Each poem—each story—draws you in with its tale, and piec­ing togeth­er each indi­vid­ual shard ensures you’re even more engrossed. I’d argue that the poems almost turn into spells as they cap­ture the read­er, despite sainthood.

I could say far more about this enchant­i­ng chap­book but, real­ly, it will do a much bet­ter job of that itself. As my first intro­duc­tion to Fox Hen­ry Frazier’s poet­ry, Like Ash in the Air After Some­thing Has Burned has unques­tion­ably made me a fan—and Hyacinth Girl Press has cer­tain­ly made its mark on my “dream press” wish list!

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About the Author

Fox Hen­ry Fra­zier is the author of two prize-win­ning col­lec­tions of poet­ry: The Hydro­man­tic His­to­ries (Bright Hill Press, 2015), which was select­ed by Ver­mont Poet Lau­re­ate Chard deNiord as the recip­i­ent of the Bright Hill Press Poet­ry Award, and Exo­dus in X Minor (Sun­dress Pub­li­ca­tions, 2014). Her most recent col­lec­tion, Like Ash in the Air After Some­thing Has Burned (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2017), was recent­ly nom­i­nat­ed for an Elgin Award. Her non-fic­tion work has appeared in jour­nals and mag­a­zines such as Den­ver Quar­ter­ly, Tar­pau­lin Sky, VIDA: Women in the Lit­er­ary Arts, and else­where. Fox edit­ed the antholo­gies Polit­i­cal Punch: Con­tem­po­rary Poems on the Pol­i­tics of Iden­ti­ty (Sun­dress Pub­li­ca­tions, 2016) and Among Mar­gins: Crit­i­cal and Lyri­cal Writ­ing on Aes­thet­ics (Ric­o­chet Edi­tions, 2016). She cre­at­ed and man­ages the micro-press Agape Edi­tions ( Fox was grad­u­at­ed Phi Beta Kap­pa from Bing­ham­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, was hon­ored with mer­it-based fel­low­ships at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, where she earned an MFA, and was a Provost’s Fel­low at the Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, where she earned a PhD in Lit­er­a­ture and Cre­ative Writing.

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