Literature, Poetry, Reviews

Review: Hearne, Tricks of the Light

A review in the September 12 New York Sun focuses on author Vicki Hearne’s (1946–2001) double life as an assistant professor of English at Yale and a “respected horse and dog trainer;” two worlds which Hearne brings together in an unusual and fascinating way with her newest work, posthumously published by the press, Tricks of the Light: New and Selected Poems. Louisa Thomas writes for the Sun:

Vicki Hearne was taken seriously in both the academy and in the kennels where she spent much of her time. But she was not wholly at home in either. As she wrote in her book Adam’s Task: Calling Animals by Name, “Dog trainers and philosophers can’t make much sense of each other.” The trainers talk about animals in anthropomorphized language, whereas philosophers tend to assume that only humans are truly moral creatures. Ms. Hearne spent much of her time trying to bridge the gap—to build off of what the philosophers say about consciousness and the trickeries of language, while vigorously defending the idea that animals are in on the game.
This is the task of her poetry as well as her prose. Ms. Hearne is less well known as a poet, but she is a skilled practitioner, and her subject is well-suited to verse. Her talent is plainly clear in her posthumous collection of new and selected poems, Tricks of the Light … edited by her longtime friend and champion, the critic and poet John Hollander.

Read the rest of the review on the New York Sun website.