Excerpts from Lauren Russell’s poetry manuscript, What’s Hanging on the Hush, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.

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lauren-russell-photoABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Russell’s second chapbook, Dream-Clung, Gone, came out from Brooklyn Arts Press in 2012. Her poems have appeared in various print and online publications, including Better, Eleven Eleven, and jubilat, among others, and are forthcoming in boundary 2. Her reviews may be found in Jacket2, The Volta, and elsewhere. Russell holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and was the 2014-2015 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her book, What’s Hanging on the Hush, is due out from Ahsahta Press in 2017.


What’s Hanging on the Hush wrestles with concerns that range from race, gender and sexuality to loneliness, madness and grief, and nothing escapes questioning, least of all the position of the poet herself. With humor and slightly off-kilter introspection, these poems disrupt even their own speaking, frequently singing “I.” Collectively, they demonstrate the underlying restlessness of a subjectivity never quite at ease, like the solitary cats who meander across these pages and disappear only to turn up where they are least expected. Operating in a range of modes, from tight lyrics to sprawling, fragmented texts to language experiments, What’s Hanging on the Hush is a tightly constructed interrogation of construction itself. At its heart is an exploration of solitude and a feminist’s existential reckoning—the struggle of being/making in the world.