Kimiko Hahn


Kimiko Hahn is the author of ten books of poems, including: Foreign Bodies (W. W. Norton, 2020); and The Unbearable Heart (Kaya, 1996), which received an American Book Award; Earshot (Hanging Loose Press, 1992), which was awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award. As part of her service to the CUNY community, she initiated a Chapbook Festival that became an annual event co-sponsored by major literary organizations. Since then, she has added chapbooks to her publication list: Write it!, Brittle Process, Brood, Ragged Evidence, A Field Guide to the Intractable, Boxes with Respect, The Cryptic Chamber, and Resplendent Slug. In 2017, she and Tamiko Beyer collaborated on the chapbook Dovetail.  Hahn takes pleasure in the challenges of collaboration: writing text for film (Coal Fields, 1985 experimental documentary by Bill Brand, Ain’t Nuthin’ But a She-Thing 1995 MTV special, and Everywhere at Once 2008 film based on Peter Lindbergh’s still photos and narrated by Jeanne Moreau); writing poems for visual arts (2016 art-book poetics and 2017 photograph-broadsides with Lauren Henkin).  Honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/Voelcker Award, Shelley Memorial Prize, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the N.Y. Foundation for the Arts. She has taught in graduate programs at the University of Houston and New York University, and is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York; she has also taught for literary organizations such as the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and Kundiman.  From 2016-2019, Hahn was President of the Board of Governors, Poetry Society of America. She and true crime writer Harold Schechter make their home in New York where life is dictated by their terrier Trudy.

Reckless Sonnet No. 8

My father, as a boy in Milwaukee, thought

the cicada's cry was the whir from a live wire--

not from muscles on the sides of an insect

vibrating against an outer membrane. Strange though

that, because they have no ears, no one knows why

the males cry so doggedly into the gray air.

Not strange that the young live underground sucking sap from tree roots

for seventeen years. A long, charmed childhood

not unlike one in a Great Lake town where at dusk

you'd pack up swimsuit, shake sand off your towel

and head back to the lights in the two-family houses

lining the streets. Where the family sat around the radio.

And the parents argued over their son and daughter

until each left for good. To cry in the air





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Memory & The Past

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.