Brittingham Prize in Poetry Winner, University of Wisconsin Press, 2016.
Praise for The Blue Hour:
“Whitaker’s debut collection wrenchingly captures an abusive parent-child relationship in a hardscrabble, desolate environment where, for instance, feral kittens fight off flies. . . . And though what follows is hard-bitten and relentless, with the sure knowledge that every twinkling gift has its price, Whitaker writes with a richness and variety that offers sustained reading throughout.”
“Chronicles a daughter in danger, a girl trapped in the dark underbelly of fairy tales. Predators—fathers, wolves, witches and their ghosts—drag us into the dark forest of sadism with no prince or woodsman in sight. Whitaker is a fearless poet whose subject is fear.”
—Denise Duhamel, Brittingham Prize judge
“We don’t want to believe that the sound of a hissing snake is an augury, but the ancient mind, the child’s mind, insists otherwise. Whitaker takes us back to this world through a series of nimble, evocative, and often moving poems.”
–Beth Sutton-Ramspeck and Doug Ramspeck, in The Los Angeles Review
“The Blue Hour casts a blue spell, using the tropes and gestures of traditional fairy tales—riddles, disguises, wishes, shape-shifting, entrapment, escape, and transformation—to trace a daughter’s experience of incestuous abuse. With language as sonically and somatically intricate as the subject she narrates, Whitaker looks unflinchingly at an ancient taboo and the infinite hour of its endurance.”
—Lisa Russ Spaar, author of Vanitas, Rough
“Whitaker’s skills with sentence and sound, with spare yet suggestive language, with telling juxtapositions, with metaphor and misdirection, make the unbearable bearable just long enough that it can be seen, contained, and transcended. These are riveting poems, hard won, from a poet of exceptional talent.”
—Jim Peterson, author of Original Face
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