Sunday, December 27, 2009


CROWNED by Ellen Hagan

Publication Date: January 2010
Publisher: Sawyer House Press
Format: Paperback, 110pp
ISBN-13: 9780982156025
ISBN: 0982156022

I was first introduced to the work of Kentucky writer, Ellen Hagan, when my daughter had her as a creative writing teacher during the Governor's School of the Arts 2009. Hagan's words bleed off the pages and each one has a deliberate bite that makes you stand up and take notice.

Born and raised in Bardstown, Kentucky, this talented poet now resides in New York City. CROWNED is her debut collection of poetry and will be available January 28, 2009.

This slim volume is a powerful collection of poems spanning Hagan's life from birth to the present. One of my favorites is "Baby" - it is a painful look at the range of emotions a daughter can put a mother through. Being the mother of three grown daughters, this one struck me square in the heart.
"At one I made my mom exquisite ..."
In "Reign" she also gives the reader a raw look at a little girl becoming a woman - again, something I have copious experience with.
"A new luxury of woman, a new thing to own."
"IV" details how a life can change in an instance.
"I am different than I was five months ago."
Heartbreak can lead to an alien range of emotions you never thought you would feel.

Not all of her poems take on a personal tone, several actually touch on pop culture as in "Dear Chris Brown" and "Dis-Missle" (dedicated to Sarah Palin). She uses powerful words to sharpen her point and drive the meaning home.

Hagan is passionate when writing about the loves of her life, especially when writing about her mom. Many of the entries revolve around her maternal parent and the love oozes off the pages.

Hagan's writing is fearless and clear, truthful to a fault. She has done what many writers can never achieve in a lifetime - taken an imperfect life full of splinters and defects and turned it into a life changing experience. If you love raw, candid poetry, CROWNED is a book you should not miss.

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