J. Hope Stein is the author of Occasionally, I remove your brain through your nose (Poet Republik, 2017).
Her poems can be found in The New Yorker, Poetry International, Lenny Letter, In the Shape of a Human Body I Am Visiting the Earth: Poems from Far and Wide (McSweeney’s and Poetry International, 2017).
Her new poems and writing can be seen in the stage performance of Mike Birbiglia’s The New One — in previews now & opening August 2 at the Cherry Lane Theater. She’ll be reading poems from The New One and other vignettes at Muldoon’s Picnic in November.
“J. Hope Stein is one of my favorite poets …
Her images are outrageously vivid and memorable. Her music is alive, is unpredictable, is tender, is voracious. She updates the music of a great poet—say, John Berryman—into the 21st century, making the bard alive again, making the voice bristle with a verbal energy in this moment in time. But she is a poet all her own–unlike anyone else–writing a kind of music in which “the sky/drools sweetly to the ear” with sound that is full of emotion, full of erotic, ecstatic, essential moments: “I’m listening to Beethoven/…music swells/as it disappears into my pelvis.”
This is the kind of music that can take our most domestic moments–in which two people find themselves bewildered, and yet inseparable, in love–and see how they “act as two animals holding invisible balloons.” This music teaches us that our domestic joys, perhaps, are our last defense.
J. Hope Stein uses this defense of music, this shield of verbal art, against our moment’s ugliest creatures: “The steel men. The financiers. The patrons/of the petroleum arts,” and other kinds of trash, Donald Trump first in line among them. This poet knows that a time comes when only music and sensuality can still protect the soul. A time comes when there is no more time for the trivial. And she gives us the incredible energy, incredible verve of such saving music. Like I said, one of my favorite poets.”
“J. Hope Stein’s poetry is inspired. Thick, playful, rewarding and true.”
“ … perversely nourishing … ”
“… fresh, vital, surprising, and impactful … Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose is a gem…
… a whirlwind of blazing insight lightly wrapped in deft and nimble language.
… You may feel after reading Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose that Stein has performed just that feat upon you … a thorough wringing of the mind…”
“The book is brief, but the imagery and thought in it is so rich, it keeps expanding. Simultaneously, a giggle can build into a full-body laughing fit …
… [the book] ends in the middle of our thinking, our fruitless, round-and-round thinking, our not-learning-from-history-and-thus-repeating-it thinking, our wonderfully-inventive-yet-unable-to-save-ourselves-or-stop-ourselves thinking…. It’s a brilliant choice; it leaves the reader thinking and aware of her own responsibility in these matters. What should we do? What can we do? What will we do? Pondering it, I may pull my brain out through my nose.”