A Certain Hold by Ann Batchelor Hursey



A Certain Hold takes for its subjects the small, often private, often impermanent labors of women’s hands, and in Ann Hursey’s own—by virtue of her attention, imagination and generous heart—elevates and confers on them a sense of value. Whether the artifacts of such labor are jewelry, textiles, a garden or grave plot attended by a daughter and her aging mother, a child, a marriage, or writing itself, Hursey redeems and renders them with the same level of beauty and skill she admires in them.

–Cindy Stewart-Rinier

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


Ann Hursey‘s poems offer us the inside stories of many lives, one thread at a time. Women in Mali learn to sustain themselves by making–their hands shape lives at the same time they create batik or dolls. Hers is a global perspective that travels across generations. Ann Hursey is a citizen of this moment on this complex and difficult and beautiful earth. She’s a citizen of the world of words, whose poems let us live among all those who’ve gone before and all those who will come after us. These are fine and generous poems.
–Peggy Shumaker

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]


Beads and woven fabric, trillium and apples—one gains “a certain hold,” as one poem quotes Virginia Woolf’s diary, by writing down the things of this world. Ann Hursey’s poems are like the spirit dolls she writes about. They contain energy and courage. They speak beyond themselves. They’re full of joy, while also looking straight at suffering and deprivation, making it shine with the light of deep engagement. This collection is the product of love and work and a rich sense of what it means to be human.

–Fleda Brown

Rating:  ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]




A Certain Hold

by Ann Batchelor Hursey

$14, paper

Ann Batchelor Hursey was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, and moved to the Pacfic Northwest in 1980. Her poems have appeared in Poemeleon, Crab Creek Review, Granny Smith Literary Magazine, and in the e-Anthology of Contemporary Women Poets, Fire on Her Tongue (Two Sylvias Press), among others. Her poem, “What Lay Open,” was nominated by Penduline Press for Best of the Net (2012). Before poetry, Ann worked as an elementary teacher, working with all ages of children (seeing each child as a poem). After classroom teaching, Ann worked as a Poet-in-the-Schools with Powerful Schools, and as Director of the Hugo Classes for Kids at the Richard Hugo House. Ann is a graduate of the Rainier Writing Workshop (MFA) at Pacific Lutheran University. She has been awarded writing residencies with Jack Straw Writer’s Program (Seattle), Hypatia-in-the-Woods (Shelton, WA) and Soapstone: A Writing Retreat for Women. (Oregon).


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