2012 Lambda Literary Award Finalist
2012 Audre Lorde Prize Finalist
What’s the best thing about reading poetry?
I would have to say that Christina Hutchins provides multiple answers to this question in The Stranger Dissolves. Just when you think you are well-schooled in the magic properties of language, Hutchins bursts that bubble with the muscular force of her verbs morphing into nouns, her images warp-stretching the imaginative field, and her emotions singing with the breath and modulation of woodwinds. How brave and intelligent these poems are. How lucky for us to have a marvelous poet in our midst.
—Eloise Klein Healy (The Islands Project: Poems for Sappho)
Christina Hutchins’ The Stranger Dissolves is an exquisite debut volume. This superb collection is elegant, impassioned, and consistently wise in its reckonings. Few poets so carefully embody the mind’s oscillations during reflection, and the beauty of Christina Hutchins’ poems is simply beyond measure. More than any first collection I know, The Stranger Dissolves melds both mind (intelligence and thought) and heart with a startling complexity, intricacy, and intimacy. This is a volume to keep at one’s bedside.
— David St. John, Study for the World’s Body, The Auroras
“Throughout this consistently strong collection, Hutchins’s poems fill the imagined field with considerable feeling and intuition, rendering it alive with the lyric hum of her carefully crafted lines… …Hutchins’s poems are most resonant when they expand a small, concrete situation or image into increasingly larger psychological or ontological contexts. Consider “Hail,” in which the speaker describes herself collecting pieces of fallen hail and “wanting to stow them, / to show them off,” but then realizing “the dust knows better.” A biochemist, minister and professor of philosophy as well as a poet, Hutchins finds a way, as she does throughout the book, to register her reality by correlating her speaker’s complex emotional interior with resounding external imagery. Specifically, she effectively inverts the vast into the minute: “the vortex of his eyes”; and she draws parallel images between macro- and microcosmic phenomena: “empty pockets of dust” made by hailstones mirror the “cratered” moon. And she infuses the sensory details of the present with memory, allowing the reader to consider past and present events asynchronously, which mimics the flow of consciousness.”