Hume has been called a "poet of the new surrealism," and I suppose she can be read that way, although I think that that designation might encourage readers to take an easy out and not follow her language into the places it can take us. For instance, in a more recent poem, "Night Sentence," one I found in the on-line chapbook Fata Morgana Alaska, Hume writes these lines, which can be read quite directly and can be quite moving, even as they are a bit funny:
| The window is mine and all the sky within it is mine |
feathery in the corner strikes three times the fox
circulates snow hurried over white fur and I am
almost dreaming about a man in a boat if my teeth stay perfectly still. . . .
Okay, I'm not completely sure what this "means," but put within the context of the title, of being sentenced to the night, things start coming together for me. In a review of another poet, Christine Hume wrote that his poems "accrue resonance by drawing us into dialogue with that which we do not understand." Her own poems often do exactly the same thing.
Christine Hume reads for the U-M's Visiting Writers series at Davidson Hall on Thursday, March 6.
[Originally published in March, 2003.]