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Susan Hahn

Born: 1951 in Chicago, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Hahn was born in Chicago by the name of Susan Firestone. She attended Highland Park High School and received her B. A. and M. A. in psychology from Northwestern University. She currently resides in Winnetka.

Biography: Susan Hahn an award-winning poet, playwright and novelist. As a licensed group therapist at the Woodlawn Metal Health Center, she began incorporating writing and art into her therapy; and began to write her own work submitting her first poems to Poetry magazine. In 1997 she became Editor of Northwestern's award-winning TriQuarterly literary magazine and remained there until 2010. She was also co-founder and co-editor of TriQuarterly Books.Her first play, ''Golf'', directed by Ann Filmer, premiered in 2005 at Circle Theatre in Forest Park and her seventh book of poetry, ''The Scarlet Ibis'', was directed by Ann as a verse play in an earlier version in 2007.In 2013-2014 she was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.

  • Literary Awards, Illinois Arts Council Award for Poetry, The Society of Midland Authors, 1994 George Kent Prize, Poetry Magazine, 2000 Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

ISBN: 0226312739 OCLC: 34546779

University of Chicago Press, Chicago : 1997.

Confession, the companion to Incontinence, Susan Hahn's previous prize-winning book of poetry, continues the probing, visceral account of the relationship of a woman with her estranged husband and her inconstant lovers. Ingenious, disturbing, Confession will enhance an already substantial following for this exceptional poet.

Harriet Rubin's mother's wooden hand
ISBN: 0226312992 OCLC: 22310500

University of Chicago Press, Chicago : 1991.

Redolent of Chicago's ethnic culture, Susan Hahn's intensely personal lyrics emerge from the world of an extended Jewish family and its neighbors. The voices of these immigrants are imbued with the profound effects and memories of the journey "From a patrolled town in the Ukraine/to Baltimore on a boat, then a train to Chicago." Hahn's poetry is about love and the lack of love, about rejection, and about other forces—generational, political, social, and sexual—that overwhelm individuals and cause them to limit themselves both physically and psychologically.

Holiday (Phoenix Poets)
ISBN: 0226312755 OCLC: 45888724

University of Chicago Press, Chicago : 2001.

Holiday is a book of poems chiseled into both public and private calendar markers, where the unfinished self seeks, desperately and defiantly, resolution through either completion or negation. The poems are filled with unflinching irony and an intelligence that celebrates and laments personal, mythic, biblical, and historical events.

Incontinence (Phoenix Poets)
ISBN: 0226312712 OCLC: 27814135

University of Chicago Press, Chicago : 1993.

Charged with sensuality, ferocity, and despair, this sequence of poems follows the progress of a central character's passionate romance. Hahn's fevered book of human emotions becomes a powerful rumination on love, aging, and mutability in general.

Losing Beck :
ISBN: 9781597096324 OCLC: 1043976087

Losing Beck is the story of Jennie Silver, who is trying to get over a man who was greatly influenced by the renowned Hungarian emigre novelist Avigdor Element. Spanning a hundred years of history from when Nijinsky danced The Afternoon of the Faun in Paris in 1912, through World Wars I and II, to very close to the present, Jennie keeps a diary, writes a play and a novella in her attempt to control her desperate, high-pitched emotions focused on a man she is uncontrollably drawn to and at the same time finds repugnant. A man who is one of the keepers and part of the legacy of Element's bad behavior--Provided by publisher.

Mother in Summer
ISBN: 0810151308 OCLC: 48951099

TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : 2002.

Mother in Summer is a collection of poems offering candid, powerful insight into the grief of losing a parent.

ISBN: 0810151642 OCLC: 59280331

Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : 2005.

Drawing on history, myth, folk rhymes, human physiology, and the psyche's crevices, Susan Hahn's Self/Pity is a relentless journey of the self through time, into the labyrinth of the present with its own stimuli and despairs. She strikes a delicate balance of contrast and collision between the various linked poems in this collection, which all deal with birth, the body, and the soul. As with her previous collections, the poems in Self/Pity can be read as a cohesive whole. From the simple prayer "To Jacob Four Months In The Womb" to the complex territory of the poem sequence "The Pornography of Pity," in which Mother Goose, the Marquis de Sade, Godot, Lewis Carroll's Alice, The Cat and the Fiddle, Zeus, and many others are called upon, Hahn creates a tour-de-force exploration of the book's central themes.

The Note She Left: Poems
ISBN: 9780810124868 OCLC: 175057152

Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : ©2008.

Hahn’s new collection wrestles with the elemental and enduring challenges of the human condition: What can we use from our spiritual heritage? How should we find relief? How, after it all, do we live? The poems are presented as a letter to the world from a woman preparing to leave it. In four sections—“The Bells,” “The Crosses,” “Widdershins,” and “Afterwor(l)d”—she contrasts the hope against the dark that is embodied by an amulet or cross with the abased resignation of torture, failed prayers, and witchcraft. Though Hahn’s vision is a dark one, its dramatic emotional depth speaks to a human power that, though damaged, can still engage.

The Scarlet Ibis
ISBN: 0810151839 OCLC: 76820902

Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Ill. : 2007.

A collection of poems by Susan Hahn that use the image of the ibis to explore a wide range of topics, including slavery, ancient Egypt, individuality, and courage.

The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter
ISBN: 0984651004 OCLC: 794707567

Fifth Star Press, Chicago, Ill. : 2012.

A family of Jewish Hungarian immigrants settle in Chicago in the first half of the 20th century, and rise from poverty to prosperity. Cecil Slaughter's children-- out of equal measures glorified memory and sibling rivalry-- name their daughters after him, with subtle variations: Ceci, Cecilia, Cecily, Celine, Celie, and Celeste. Despite-- or perhaps because of-- this and other familial forces pushing on them, each has a personality and direction of life distinct from her cousins.