Separate Escapes   (January 2002)


By Corrinne Clegg Hales

ISBN: 0-912592-49-4

Separate Escapes is the winner of the 2001 Richard Snyder Publication Prize.

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Corrinne Clegg Hales writes about the American West, that endless blue-sky hope where we have all waited and wandered.  This is a beautiful, bitter book.  Its individual, austere longing to live is so evident in every image, every blossom, every mouth, every tale that her litany of broken bodies and scatter of harms seems, at last, no more than the mysteries we have all known and will know again and again in hunger and betrayal and memory's dimming. Her poems, compelling histories, local testimonies, handfuls of bees frozen, then alive, stinging like love, or the furious assaults of atomic radiation, hold our attention because, like a sharper's three shells with one pea, they reveal secrets within our grasp, which are yet never quite possessed. A deft, musical poet, Hales has the voice of Biblical character, passion, restraint, courage, fear, charm, endurance, the very metaphor of desire, here the numinous shadow of what is large and lost and hungered for and evident in each thing so small and fading against that largeness. Readers will never forget this book. Poetry ought to shake us, convince us, test us. This poetry does. I love it.

- Dave Smith, Editor of The Southern Review


Corrinne Clegg Hales works inside the liminal zones of time, body and perception. These poems are feverish charts of the blurred exposures of our lives; they loosen and refract the scarred erasures between mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers, sisters and stars. A master of measuring the upside-down wicked weight of death, loss, suffering and the sudden transformations where "everything wants to be loved."  A tour-de-force.

- Juan Felipe Herrera


Corrinne Clegg Hales' poems are biography of the most luminous kind.  As we read them, we're in the presence of events and their inexhaustible implications, described in terms somehow both wickedly accurate and surpassingly generous. Separate Escapes works through lives as flawed and ravaged as they come, transforming knowledge to forgiveness.  It is, quite simply, a beautiful book.

- Angela Ball


About the Author

Corrinne Clegg HalesCorrinne Clegg Hales was born in Tooele, Utah, earned her BA and MA at the University of Utah, and completed a PhD at SUNY-Binghamton.  She is the author of two other books of poetry, To Make It Right (Autumn House Press, 2010) and Underground (Ahsahta Press), and two chapbooks, Out of This Place (March Street Press) and January Fire, winner of the Devil's Millhopper Chapbook Prize. Other awards include two NEA Fellowship Grants and the River Styx International Poetry Prize. She lives in Fresno, California, where she is co-coordinator of the MFA Program at California State University, Fresno.

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