Axe in Hand

by Melanie Moro-Huber

96 Pages, 6 x 9

Library of Congress Control Number:  2011942032

ISBN:  978-1-935520-56-6

Publication Date:  01/31/2012

Press Release

Cover Art:  West Rosebud Chopping Block, black and white photograph
by Sherry O'Keefe  |


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Do you remember going out into the yard and spinning around and around until you couldn't tell the difference between the sky and the ground anymore? Melanie Moro-Huber’s first full-length collection, Axe in Hand, is very much like that. A mixture of humor and tragedy, experimental and traditional forms, Moro-Huber pulls you into the absurd as well as the sacred moments of parenthood and familial relationships, delving into the daily chaos of life in an attempt to find meaning. The poetry in this collection invokes ghosts, giving voice to inter-generational concerns surrounding our daily environment and the way we communicate and learn from one another. Moro-Huber takes the reader from the mountains to the river to the sea and back again, and in the course of the journey the reader is always led right back to their own understanding of life and meaning.


To read Melanie Moro-Huber's Axe in Hand, is to become enthralled by the voice of a poet living fully, and vital to such fullness is an awareness of "the hour time condenses," the world when "our vanishing bodies will emboss the wall." Her formal range combines with her fertile imagination to stunning effect, the collection "full of shining conduits."

—Claudia Emerson

"It's really annoying," Melanie Moro-Huber complains in one of her poems, "when everything becomes poetic," but I don't really believe that she's all that annoyed. Well, actually I do, if I take her to mean, as Wallace Stevens once put it, "Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself." Nevertheless, in Moro-Huber's hands everything certainly can become poetic and, in this wide- and wild-ranging collection of poems, everything—from the hectic, daily doings of a mother to "freak shows" to memories of genuine joy to the darkest and most searing moments of and in the lives we lead—does become poetry. The Thing Itself is surely here, and the poems which express it are both compelling and exciting.

—R. H. W. Dillard

Grief, whimsy, friendship, motherhood, freak shows, "the perpetually present state of poetry": Axe in Hand offers you compelling understandings of all these, and more. The crafty dazzle of the poems will win you over. Their variety of form and voice and stance, and the emotional intelligence of what gets said here, will reward you hugely. Open this book now. Get ready for a romp—and for a collection you'll definitely want to keep around.

—Jeanne Larsen