Her language muscular and resolute, equally hard-edged and finely honed, Corrinne Clegg Hales explores the sometimes uneasy resonances between family and community, the self and history, reminding us that one of poetry’s noble purposes lies in the skillful ordering of emotional chaos. To Make It Right contains poetry of fierce, undeniable beauty despite the hardships that have inspired it, and includes a sequence devoted to the discovery of a narrative’s first fine threads of truth buried with the victims of the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1857, when Mormon zealots murdered over a hundred emigrant men, women, and children bound for California. Ambitious and sustained, this remarkable collection is the work of a poet intent on responding to the call of this world.
Corrinne Clegg Hale’s latest collection, To Make It Right, recognizes the dead we carry within us, as well as the inheritance of grief we pass on to those we love. These poems refuse to avert their gaze, opting instead for a lyrical scrutiny of loss and tenderness given in equal measure. To Make It Right gathers in the resilience of those who survive the wounds of a broken world, poem by poem, until the book’s end reaches a hard-earned and stunning beauty. It is a brave work that I will return to often as the years go by.
This is a masterpiece. Hales, at the peak of her powers, pierces the past, present and future. I am in absolute awe.
—JUAN FELIPE HERRERA