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Author of the Month: David Hernandez

Published: March 6, 2017

Dear, Sincerely

David Hernandez, assistant professor, English

Published in 2016, this 81-page poetry collection from the University of Pittsburgh Press brings the reader into poems that are simultaneously personal, universal and sometimes political. Dear, Sincerely explores the self, the collective we, the cosmos and the murky division that separates one from the other. Hernandez drew the cover for his fourth book. “These are personal and political poems,” said Hernandez, who has been teaching at CSULB as a lecturer since 2011. “There are poems with multiple voices. The ‘Dear’ poems are my address to others and the ‘Sincerely’ poems are directed toward me. For instance, ‘Sincerely, the Sky’ wonders what the sky would have to say to me if it had a voice. That is what I like about poetry. It gives me a perspective unavailable anywhere else.” Hernandez is the recipient of a 2011 NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry. His 2011 collection from Sarabande Books, Hoodwinked, won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize. The 64-page title deals with inherent untrustworthiness—of received opinion, the trompe l’oeil deceptions of nature, and the workings of our own unfaithful minds—which is given its proper menace. In poems that range from the backyard to Iraq, Hernandez disturbs the surface of contemporary life to reveal barely submerged worlds. His other collections include Always Danger (SIU Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry from the Southern Illinois University Press. Its 104 pages offer a lyrical and highly imaginative exploration into the hazards that surround people’s lives—whether it’s violence, war, mental illness, car accidents or the fury of Mother Nature. In his second collection of poems, Hernandez embraces the element of surprise: a soldier takes refuge inside a hollowed-out horse, a man bullies a mountain, and a giant pink donut sponsors age-old questions about beliefs. “Many of my poems are very political, especially in this new collection,” he said. One poem shadows the conflict in Iraq, another reflects the national economic and cultural divide. Always Danger parallels Hernandez’s joy of writing:

Author of the Month-Daniel Hernandez

unmapped, spontaneous and imbued with nuanced revelation. He also is the author of A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). His poems have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review and two volumes of The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. He is also the author of two Young Adult novels, No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. He earned his B.A. from CSULB in 1998 and his MFA from UC Irvine in 2009. He is married to longtime CSULB English faculty member Lisa Glatt. To visit his website click here.