love will burst into a thousand shapes

Jane Eaton Hamilton

Art, children, marriage, breaking, rejoicing. Love is a many-branched tree and in Hamilton’s newest poetry collection, her third, it’s autumn or winter, the winds are kicking up and branches are flying everywhere—bursting into a thousand shapes. Or maybe it’s Hamilton’s heart that explodes into many dimensions. Tender, furious, grief-stricken, witty, urbane, elegiac, political, personal, erotic—these poems are all those things. Hamilton can’t stop loving big no matter how chancy it is.

All these shapes lend raw material for a poem: Mothers lose their babies. A boy loses his leg to war. A girl hides from serial killer Richard Speck. A virgin gets pregnant. A partner mourns a death at Walkerton. Women tumble into love, celebratory and foolhardy.

Frank and elemental, Love Will Burst Into a Thousand Shapes reminds us that life is worth everything we can throw at it.

“The open-hearted poetry […] delighted me. Hamilton’s enthusiasm for life and language is infectious in this collection, which celebrates art, life and love […]Hamilton is a poet deserving of a larger US audience.”

–Julie R. Enszer, Lambda Literary

“Artful and globetrotting poetic exploration of matters of the heart runs the gamut. Yes, there’s excitement (“Tomorrow I will show you to everyone I love / and dream of marrying you”) and erotic highs (“she peeled me so I came apart / in sections juicy and dripping through her hands”). But there are plenty of end-of-romance lows too.”

–Brett Josef Grubisic, Xtra West

“Jane Eaton Hamilton’s raw and crippling precise poetry is a bit like your first grasp of Picasso. It doesn’t happen with one painting (or one poem). It is the result of accumulated brilliance.”

–Michael Dennis

“In her new collection of poetry — ekphrastic, maternal, erotic — Jane Eaton Hamilton writes with grace, vigour, and brilliant colour.”

–Ellis Avery

“Extraordinarily good work. So multivalence, hard-hitting, delicate and continually surprising.”

— Marilyn Hacker

“love will burst into a thousand shapes is jazzy and engaging. Hamilton proves herself to be a real wordsmith, with a trickster’s soul and a heart as big as New Mexico. The poems are enlightening, risky, rough, funny as hell, and ultimately very moving.”

—Barry Dempster

“In writing ‘every time we fucked it was brand new, brand new‘ Hamilton summons her reader to participate in this intimate newness. These poems are too luscious, too seductively vexatious to read at arm’s length.”

–Amber Dawn

“A book to read and re-read many times. Thrilling, muscular and elegiac, this is one of the finest poetry collections I have ever read.”

–Marnie Woodrow