Dark Under Kiganda Stars is a startling lyrical account of a young Catholic American student’s time in Uganda, where she taught English to adults and assisted at a medical clinic in a remote country village. Written while the author was still in college, it is an astonishing debut, richly musical and descriptive, confident, unpretentious, and bursting with new experience: love, identity, religious faith, and the complex collisions of culture and language.
“Out of [Dark Under Kiganda Stars] come poems, fresh and eager, that give themselves as completely as they can to entering the experience and language of another culture. The language of the poems is direct and descriptive, deceptively simple. “I don’t know how to communicate,” one poem says, “how to bend my head close to a friend’s / with my quiet voice, but I try to fold myself in.”… This is a book to treasure and I think eagerly of what else it might lead to.”—Roger Mitchell
“What can we expect of a poet who is 21? Here are quietly varied line and stanza forms, a kindness in storytelling, a nice balance of inner and outer vision: more than many an older poet can rely on. In writing from her time in a region stricken with both poverty and AIDS, Hegnauer reveals a willingness to record sensation without judgment, and to walk with her own Catholic upbringing and faith even as questions about the goodness of God bubble through… This is a remarkably honest collection. I look forward to Hegnauer’s next exploration.”—Kingdom Books Blog