Available April 1st, 2016
Paperback: 72 pages
About the Book:
The poems in Elizabeth Hazen’s debut collection, Chaos Theories, spring from a unique collusion of science and art in one poet’s heart and mind. In these often elegiac poems, Hazen explores many forms of love — between children, parents, siblings, friends, and lovers. In powerful poetic language and structure, loss is explored, and survival becomes another form of understanding, a way of seeing ourselves and others not as guilty or innocent, good or bad, but as complex, sometimes thwarted beings who are always striving for more wisdom, more empathy, more light. Hazen’s language is elegant, her point of view unflinching, her voice mature and warm. Science in these poems is both information and consolation, a way of untangling chaos, of seeing more clearly and cleanly. Hazen is a poet who understands that we are all searching in various ways to make order of our lives and loves, and who crafts poems that can aid us in that search.
Elizabeth Hazen’s unflinching first book Chaos Theories forms a powerful meditation on female identity and the cultural expectations that daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters resist and embrace. For Hazen, fate—familial or biological—is a form of magnificent havoc that reflects both the natural world’s lush beauty and the realities of science: “chaotic systems” that “twist into something like control.” Chaos Theories is a debut fluent in the language of desire, heartbreak, and regeneration.
—Jane Satterfield, author of Her Familiars and Assignation at Vanishing Point
Chaos Theories, Elizabeth Hazen’s startling collection, refashions insights and principles from the hard sciences into metaphors for what it means and feels like to be alive and conscious, needy and loving, in a universe ruled by time and change. With plainspoken elegance, these poems, individually and collectively, comprise a memorable and heart wrenching evocation of the persistent and often contradictory needs that both sustain and menace the attachments that define us.”
—Alan Shapiro, author of Reel to Reel and Night of the Republic
In Chaos Theories, Elizabeth Hazen explores the “instabilities” of the human heart through the organizing impulses of poetry, which work to make sense, make order of memory, desire, and regret. With her elegant couplets and tercets, the poet teaches us that “even /chaos breeds patterns of a sort: sly singles / at the bar, nocturnal creatures stalking shadows, / cars cruising for motion’s sake.” This is a book of bodies and tongues but also of bright intellect, the mind scientific here, methodical and beautiful in its efforts “to narrate, fit events to plot.”
—Jehanne Dubrow, author of Home Front and The Arranged Marriage
Liz Hazen is a spy in the house of science. Her Chaos Theories is a dynamo that will alter your genetic structure and boost your intelligence. She rides into town like Athena on the horns of a Minoan bull, waving a cure for cancer in one hand and the rules of romance in the other. She harnesses the atoms and molecules of poetry like a Tesla coil, attuned to our everyday lives, and leaves us sadder, wiser, and the better for it. So drink up. She’s the real deal and this is a shocking book filled to the brim with electric eels.
—Richard Peabody, founder and editor of Gargoyle Magazine, author of Speed Enforced by Aircraft and Last of the Red Hot Magnetos
In Elizabeth Hazen’s Chaos Theories, a made world of family, birth, art, and intimacy finds itself reflected in a vast universe of fault-lines, physics, fossils, and stars. These echoes of order and disorder ring out in the sure rhythms of Hazen’s ear and the precision of her imagery and figures. As Hazen explores cause and effect, action and reaction, her poems chart the “path of time from next to next,” when “One day / my son’s mouth will bloom with teeth, then questions, / secrets.” In Chaos Theories, time haunts us with decisions and memories, but time also reveals the world’s recursive wonders, if we can only look and listen as Hazen teaches us to do.
—Dora Malech, author of Say So and Shore Ordered Ocean
When Elizabeth Hazen declares, “I want to understand our need/for headway,” it’s significant that she offers an image for progress, motion, or time, and it’s also characteristic of this poet’s “need” to ground her ideas in the body, which she tells us, “holds more mysteries/than the mouth can bring itself to speak.” And yet she does find speech for the mysteries and paradoxes of existence, speech she puts down in expertly cadenced lines that “produce the proper notes” of a restless imagination looking to find the “absent whole” in human experience.
—Michael Collier, Director, The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, author of An Individual History and Dark Wild Realm