Tender the Maker

by Christina Hutchins

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foreword by Cynthia Hogue

Volume 18 of the May Swenson Poetry Award Series, 2015

“Christina Hutchins combines a pitch-perfect and precise lyricism with a postmodern sensibility of language’s materiality. . . . If the poetry’s music tethers these poems internally, what holds them together in theme and subject is the thread of the elegiac at both personal and historical levels. 'Who can bear history?' Hutchins asks hauntingly throughout this volume. . . . [It] seems at times a moral imperative (to imagine evil, as Robert Duncan famously urged of Denise Levertov), but at other times in Tender the Maker, it is Life’s unrepeatable, glorious Mystery, on which this beautiful collection so tenderly muses.”

—Cynthia Hogue, judge for the 2015 May Swenson Poetry Award

“There is presence in apparent absence, the proof of which, these poems remind us, is memory, affections, and language. And so comes this book—elegant elegy, tenderly made—which sparks in turn deepened attention to what is. 'If only making love did not also make loss,' Hutchins writes. But in this moving work, making loss makes love.”

—Forrest Hamer, author of Rift and Middle Ear

“Verbally lush and nimble-minded, Christina Hutchins’ poems conduct the upheavals, griefs, and wild splendors of life with a rare and marvelous aplomb.”

—Dean Young, author of Bender: New and Selected Poems and The Art of Recklessness

"An elegantly crafted, dense work that invites readers to travel on spiritual, philosophical, and historical journeys."

Kirkus Reviews

"Tender the Maker revisits the age-old comparison between poet and deity, highlighting its blind spots, namely the times when creating also means losing, destroying, forgetting.​ . . . Each poem becomes a map where time and space intersect and unearth connections that help us confront the weight of history, whether our own or that of others."

Fjords Review

"[T]hroughout the book, Hutchins guides me into her patient, fragile, complex vision. . . . Both the depth and the precision of Hutchins’s work arise from her exact attention to the 'motion-in-relation' of herself as an artist, which is also attention to the tools of her work and to her imagination’s duty to honor the seen and the not seen."

Beloit Poetry Journal


The May Swenson Poetry Award is an annual competition named for May Swenson, one of America’s most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of fifty years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in her hometown of Logan, Utah.


A well-published poet, Christina Hutchins holds degrees from University of California at Davis, Harvard University, and Graduate Theological Union. She has taught masters’ courses in poetry and philosophy at Berkeley’s Pacific School of Religion, and worked as a biochemist and a Congregational (UCC) minister. She has previously published three volumes of poetry, The Stranger DissolvesRadiantly We Inhabit the Air, and Collecting Light, as well as contributions to several anthologies. Her literary awards include The Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, The National Poetry Review’s Finch Prize, two Barbara Deming Awards, and the James Phelan Poetry Prize. The Stranger Dissolves was a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle awards. Her poems appear in periodicals such as The New Republic, Antioch Review, Salmagundi, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, and Women’s Review of Books. She lives in Albany, CA, where she serves as the city’s first Poet Laureate.

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  • Hardcover Price: $19.95
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-438-6
  • Paperback Price: $16.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60732-501-7
  • Ebook Price: $10.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $5.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-439-3
  • Publication Month: September
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Pages: 80
  • Discount Type: Trade
  • Author: by Christina Hutchins
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-438-6
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