foreword by Cynthia Hogue
Volume 18 of the May Swenson Poetry Award Series, 2015
“Christina Hutchins combines a pitch-perfect and precise lyricism with a postmodern sensibility of language’s materiality. . . . If the poetry’s music tethers these poems internally, what holds them together in theme and subject is the thread of the elegiac at both personal and historical levels. 'Who can bear history?' Hutchins asks hauntingly throughout this volume. . . . [It] seems at times a moral imperative (to imagine evil, as Robert Duncan famously urged of Denise Levertov), but at other times in Tender the Maker, it is Life’s unrepeatable, glorious Mystery, on which this beautiful collection so tenderly muses.”
—Cynthia Hogue, judge for the 2015 May Swenson Poetry Award
“There is presence in apparent absence, the proof of which, these poems remind us, is memory, affections, and language. And so comes this book—elegant elegy, tenderly made—which sparks in turn deepened attention to what is. 'If only making love did not also make loss,' Hutchins writes. But in this moving work, making loss makes love.”
—Forrest Hamer, author of Rift and Middle Ear
“Verbally lush and nimble-minded, Christina Hutchins’ poems conduct the upheavals, griefs, and wild splendors of life with a rare and marvelous aplomb.”
—Dean Young, author of Bender: New and Selected Poems and The Art of Recklessness
"An elegantly crafted, dense work that invites readers to travel on spiritual, philosophical, and historical journeys."
"Tender the Maker revisits the age-old comparison between poet and deity, highlighting its blind spots, namely the times when creating also means losing, destroying, forgetting. . . . Each poem becomes a map where time and space intersect and unearth connections that help us confront the weight of history, whether our own or that of others."
"[T]hroughout the book, Hutchins guides me into her patient, fragile, complex vision. . . . Both the depth and the precision of Hutchins’s work arise from her exact attention to the 'motion-in-relation' of herself as an artist, which is also attention to the tools of her work and to her imagination’s duty to honor the seen and the not seen."
—Beloit Poetry Journal
The May Swenson Poetry Award is an annual competition named for May Swenson, one of America’s most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of fifty years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in her hometown of Logan, Utah.