The Hardy Tree

Linda Bierds

The Hardy Tree engages figures such as Thomas Hardy, Alan Turing, and Virginia Woolf in a thrilling exploration of power, oppression, and communication. Linda Bierds flexes modes of agency in interactions with found, familiar, and invented texts—interrupting, troubling, and inhabiting borrowed lines and historical narratives, and unpacking the concept of coding, the seen and unseen signals we use to reach one another. The book takes its title from the ash tree that stands on the grounds of the old St. Pancras church in London, where gravestones for the unclaimed dead, once set in symmetrical rings around the base of the tree, have been moved by time and roots—like the texts in The Hardy Tree—into a haunting fusion of past and possibility.

About the Author

Linda Bierds’s ninth book of poetry, Roget’s Illusion (Putnam, 2014) was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and Poetry. In addition to being awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, Bierds has received the PEN/West Poetry Prize, the Washington State Governor’s Writers Award, the Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, four Pushcart Prizes, the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Emily Clark Balch Poetry Prize, …

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“In this erudite and ever-dexterous 10th collection, Bierds poignantly juxtaposes terror with beauty…” —Publishers Weekly

The Hardy Tree proves Bierds’s poetic range and literary expertise… Powerful poems framed by eternal history.” —New York Journal of Books

“Any new collection by Bierds is a blessing, and this one will not disappoint; her sensitive poems about Turing are lessons for aspiring readers or poets on the application of history to the creative impulse and power of poetry to illuminate the past.” —Library Journal

“Her poems, with their constantly surprising delicacy and their language rich with insight and a sensuous music, radiate real power and authority and animal presence.” ―W.S. Merwin

“In language both delicious and precise, poems by MacArthur Fellow Bierds inhabit the realm of illusion and the human need for clarity.” ―Library Journal

“Visionary.” ―New Yorker

“Radiant.” ―New York Times Book Review

“If the glow, whether the mind of God or humankind’s ‘inmost lights,’ cannot ultimately be expressed in full, Bierds nevertheless offers us a brilliant and beautiful map of ways to approach that glow.” ―Blackbird

“In this manner, Bierds has created an individual body of work the past two decades that is always refreshingly different and repeatedly satisfying in its originality. Bierds’s poems explore territory not well traveled by many of her fellow poets.” ―Valparaiso Poetry Review