In Ways of Looking at a Woman, a book-length essay that interweaves memoir with film and literary history, Caroline Hagood assumes the role of detective to ask, what is a “woman,” “mother,” and “writer”? By turns smart, funny, and poignant, Ways of Looking at a Woman is a profound meditation on the many mysterious layers that make up both a book and a person.
“Caroline Hagood’s Ways of Looking at a Woman is a profoundly unique and honest piece of work, somehow executed with an astonishing lack of ego. She will break your heart with her naked sincerity; a masterful, singular writer who sheds light with every page.”
“This book is for the poetry lovers whose brains have gone fractured after childbirth, fractured by love and focus and television and books, every influence jostling for precious space. Is this a poem? Is it a memoir? Is it a book on art and motherhood and love? Yes. I’ll shelve it next to Maggie Nelson, on the shelf marked Necessary.”
“Caroline Hagood's critical eye is somehow both cool and passionate, and she uses it freely, beautifully, to gift readers a riveting portrait of a mind at work. Referencing high and low culture, family, academic syllabi, and most importantly, her body, Hagood has made something entirely new and all her own.”
On Making Maxine's Baby
“A brave and innovative poetic exploration of the grotesque yet mystical universe of Maxine.”
“Tracking her flight from the hell of feeling, Caroline Hagood's metaphors unfold with a desperado's inventiveness. Reeling with the book's unexpected turns, I'm reminded of Dickinson's razor-sharp observations of her own psyche and of Plath's acerbic wit. For all the diversity of its escape routes, Making Maxine's Baby reads like a single utterance. It wills us to train our attention not on the traumatic violation at the poems' source, but on the loneliness, wild creativity, and valor of survival.”
“In Maxine, Caroline Hagood has created a supremely likeable character. Hagood carries us through her life, beginning with sexual abuse and culminating with a pregnancy. That Maxine lives off the grid, as a homeless New Yorker, may make the challenges Hagood has set herself-embodying otherness and trauma-seem insurmountable, but this poet ismore than up to the task. There is no patronizing in Hagood's smart, empathetic poems. Making Maxine's Baby is a gorgeous book, eminently readable, full of surprises.”
“Author Caroline Hagood's newest book, Making Maxine's Baby (out next month from Hanging Loose Press) is a literary hybrid that reads like poetry but arcs like a novel. The postmodern Inferno is told from the perspective of Maxine, a once privileged New Yorker who gives up modern life to make a home underground in the subway tunnels and mates with Marvin, a homeless man who wears one trash bag shoe and one golden clog. Hagood packs her latest work with references for readers to parse apart, from Medusa to Leatherface, exploring the use of ultra-violence in art.”
—Jill Di Donato, Vice Magazine
“This is a daring book, an odyssey written from within the consciousness of Maxine, a resident of New York City subway tunnels and survivor of repeated sexual abuse from the age of six. A notable achievement of this collection is Hagood’s ability to keep the reader steadily engaged with the mind of Maxine and her tortured drive toward freedom. This is a deeply-imagined, credible character who awakens the sympathy of readers as well as admiration for the cool tone and highly poetic language of her creator.”
—Nina Tassi, Editions Bibliotekos
On Lunatic Speaks
"Who the lunatic is, however, remains a little bit unclear, because Hagood's book consists of order, insight, introspection, and some really good lines. No doubt the book is surreal, but like dream interpretation, the actual meaning of her words becomes apparent with analysis."
—Gretchen Hodgin, JMWW 150m
"An intelligence that practically makes the page vibrate; A love of words and a choreographer’s understanding of how they dance upon the page; An eye for the details of our common experience that leaves nothing unquestioned or unseen; And a sense of HUMOR! I know! So rare! And this isn’t light verse; there are no rhyming tricks, no stand-up shows. The laugh-out-loud moments in “Lunatic Speaks” NEVER make the poems feel slight- instead make them reach deeper."
—Hansel Castro, Manhattan Chronicles
"Her poems will by turns tug at your heart and make you laugh at loud. An engaging and nuanced little collection, Lunatic Speaks is magnetic and relatable, a great volume to tuck in your bag and read as the subway rattles past each station. The poems will absorb you and help speed you toward your destination."
—Lauren C. Navarro, Editions Bibliotekos
"[R]eveals a good deal about Caroline Hagood’s poetic gifts & her poetics: visceral, not reluctant to turn savage, wishing to hurl the most disparate aspects of her experience into a vortex in order to re-shape them, even if it means mangling."
—John Hayes, Robert Frost's Banjo