Hag by Tamara Jobe

Hag by Tamara Jobe

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About the book

Hag is a reclamation of language—how it holds sway over us, how it moves through everything, a gorgeous annihilation. It is a closer look at how we define femininity for ourselves. We choose our lives, and this collection shows us another way of doing so. We hold the hands of Fate every step of the way, guided by our own power yet to be discovered.

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(Please note that all paperback orders come with a free PDF copy of the book, and worldwide shipping is free for orders over $60. This is a preorder; the final book will be sent to your inbox or doorstep on August 24, 2019.)

Advance praise

“A sweeping, visceral, and brilliant collection of shape-shifting poems that applies Tamara Jobe's mastery of from to the liminal space between the sacred and profane. Jobe transforms every inch of the body into a landscape to probe and surrender. The subversions in this slow incantatory spell are hard to forget. One leaves this book with the pulse of the ‘open-eyed snake poem’ lit wide, inside.” —Alina Stefanescu, author of Every Mask I Tried On

“Painfully relatable and beautifully written, Hag is at once discreet and devastating, an honest and raw glimpse into nature, femininity, and humanity.” Lynsey Morandin, editor-in-chief of Hypertrophic Press

“Tamara Jobe speaks with the tongue of the ancient priestess. Hag is a tome of the unbearable, the lost, hidden and beautiful. It is the ‘feral hymn / sung only in the dark’, evoking the long-lost, or present, goddess. Jobe writes with a vulnerability so rare it alters the reader and brings them to the edge of the world where they meet, truthfully and irrevocably, themselves at the altar.” Haley Wooning, author of mothmouth

Press & reader reviews

“Tamara Jobe manages to sing seamlessly from memory without drawing a line through history and the making of it, acknowledging in poems like ‘Otherkin’ her ability to tie together emotion, making knots in the pit of a stomach feel like a song fit to bursting. Between love and grief, between wanting her truth told and wanting to rewrite it, she walks along the tightrope of the book’s spine like a conductor’s song along the end of their staff, leading the reader—her orchestra—into the place where you remember how silence made you feel but you don’t remember a time when the music wasn’t playing. Throughout the four sections the book is divided into, Tamara Jobe darkens ‘that blurred space between silence and hymn’ into something of a shadow, or the closest thing that light can be to human, and brings us right back into the light before asking who would be willing to ‘walk forward into shadow without looking back.’ By the end of the book where this question is presented, you won’t want to look back—waiting at that golden edge of the end of a song for the next hymn to begin.” A review by River Adams for Oh Shadows

“With Hag, Tamara Jobe offers a series of sharply crafted poems that restore a voice to women in liminal spaces, connecting deeply with the reader. Each piece relates to the female experience while tying together imagery like landscape and religion, as well as the possibility to surge forward. Jobe describes her own work as a ‘rebellious smile in the face of derision, and a battle cry’. Hag is a brave voice with the unique ability to both devastate and uplift, like a curl of candle smoke lingering in the air. There’s been a resurgence in the past few months of publishing works based on existing as a woman, and how we are able to define our own genders and live within those boundaries. Jobe is an exceptional addition to this expanding genre, using her words to forge a quiet power. It’s rare to find a writer who writes as if from a dead language, bringing forth an ancient flow that moves over her words. The structure of the poems varies slightly, letting each piece read as an original statement of Hag, and allowing it to exist starkly. Jobe reinvents language as if establishing a haze of twilight to let every word sound as a drum beat, following the rhythm of the heart.” A review by Rachel Small for Voices In the Attic

“Tamara Jobe’s Hag transports us through landscapes of light and shadow in a series of fecund poems where ‘nothing is holy’ yet everything is. These ‘feral hymns’ teach us how women are not taught ‘how to believe [we] deserve... more than the space [we’re] in’ and are conditioned to ‘smooth [ourselves] into less-than-human.’ Will we ‘not swallow that bitter pill, wet with void? Do as [we’re] told?’ or will we ‘[walk] forward into shadow without looking back’? Throughout this collection the reader will venture into Jobe’s visceral poems and come across themselves, come across the hag within. Will they then choose to follow her into the shadows?” A review by Crystal Vega-Huerta for Life In Poetry

“This is a collection that familiarizes you with the god in your blood. Each poem pushes you deeper and deeper into a liminal space. Tamara Jobe plays with the imagery of the unknown, alternating between words you know and worlds you don’t. Mysterious worlds you are sure you can step into, if only you can linger on these words long enough. But you can’t, for they are fleeting images. I am left wandering among words, wondering. How can I understand—know—feel—things that don’t exist? How can I taste a green apple tart poem in my mouth? How can I feel the pain of resentment ripped from the scalp? How can I see a beating heart I have never known? How can I feel a moon tucked under the tongue? And how is it that I feel a sense of familiarity with this strange magic? This magic I mention is interrupted occasionally by stinging lines; you are pushed off a cliff of strange mouths into a sea of tongues you can speak but not feel. There is a sense of the poet looking calmly on whilst you flail, not choosing if you want to go back to a familiar string of words or these poems that are somehow like and unlike you.” A review by Amogha Lakshmi Halepuram Sridhar for Much Amo About Nothing

“I absolutely adore Tamara Jobe’s voice in this collection. Every single poem invokes a vivid picture in my mind, every single poem tells a different story, and yet they all come together, they all exist beside each other and make each other whole. From an objective point of view, Hag is brilliantly written. Jobe truly has a way with words: she brings them to life in such a manner that can only be described as extraordinary. Her words sparked so many different emotions in me; they stayed in my head and refused to leave, even after I read the last poem. I think what I love most about Hag is how it manages to create so many different feelings in the reader, so many images and thoughts. Jobe shows in this collection that she is able to weave words together and create these little stories, some only a few sentences long, that still hold incredible emotional impact. I adore Hag for how unapologetically it talks about women, what we have to endure, but also how powerful we are; that, sometimes, the world might want us to be silent, but we still speak up and there is so much strength in that. I’m incredibly thankful I got to read this collection and I can only recommend that you pick up a copy as well!” A review by Hannah Rosenthal for Ink & Myths

“I have no idea what sorcery Tamara Jobe used so as to awake such live images but they were not only wonderful, leaving me unprotected, but also seemed already ingrown in my mind, as if they were waiting to be called to life. … Tamara Jobe has a great understanding of language. I usually read poetry full of epithets and flowery words, where you have to untie all the ribbons of the dress to let it fall down and uncover a human hiding under it. Here, the only thing you can tear up is your own way of looking at the poem. What is left is the naked beauty of language as a tool.” A review by Cassandra T. for The Ministry of Pages

Hag is a collection of poems full of raw emotions, of pain, of magic, of what it means to be a woman, with all the happiness and all the heartaches. It’s about vulnerability, it’s about power, it’s about choosing your own fate. The poems are full of memories, full of nature, they fill your head with pictures and your heart with feelings. Some are heartwrenching, some are hopeful, some are so metaphorical they take you to magical lands.” A review by Liz Masson for The Rose Reader

“As I was putting the pieces of Hag together, I was also sewing up loose ends in my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; I was just beginning to feel some cohesion in my identity after the sensation of wandering for years across the wetlands and deserts of memory.” A guest post by Tamara Jobe for L’Éphémère Review

“The imagery is so on point it almost takes your breath away. The descriptions of nature are raw and not sugar-coated whatsoever, and I love it. I love when nature is shown as the force it is. You don’t mess with Mother Nature and these poems show the reality of that. But nature isn’t the only thing that is brutally depicted. Being a woman and everything that comes with that is described in the same painfully real way as well. Tamara Jobe doesn’t pull any punches about the hell that can come from being a woman in this world. She doesn’t just focus on the bad, though—she also beautifully describes the power of women and the way we wield it. Excuse me while I go start a coven!” A review by Sarah Perchikoff for Bookish Rantings

Reader photos

About the author

Tamara Jobe lives in the South, tending horses and writing poems.