Tom Hennen, the author of six books of poetry, was born and raised in rural Minnesota. After abandoning college, he married and began work as a letterpress and offset printer. He helped found the Minnesota Writer’s Publishing House, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section and later as a wildlife technician at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Now retired, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tom Hennen gives voice to the prairie and to rural communities, celebrating—with sadness, praise, and astute observations—the land, weather, and inhabitants. In short lyrics and prose poems, he reveals the detailed strangeness of ordinary things. Gathered from six chapbooks that were regionally distributed, this volume is Hennen’s long-overdue introduction to a national audience. With an introduction by Jim Harrison, who considers these poems “work of the highest order.”
“It’s hard to believe that this American master—and I don’t use those words lightly—has been hidden right under our noses for decades. But despite his lack of recognition, Mr. Hennen, like any practical word-farmer, has simply gone about his calling with humility and gratitude in a culture whose primary crop has become fame. He just watches, waits and then strikes, delivering heart-buckling lines.”
—Dana Jennings, The New York Times
“One of the most charming things about Tom Hennen's poems is his strange ability to bring immense amounts of space, often uninhabited space, into his mind and so into the whole poem.”
“As with Ted Kooser, he is a genius of the common touch. I have followed the work of no other American poet with greater pleasure and fidelity. He sings a bel canto simplicity better than anyone else…It was the greatest of pleasures to read this manuscript closely and to be reminded again how deeply the earth inhabits us.”
—Jim Harrison, from the introduction
Copper Canyon Press