don’t get your hopes up by courtney marie | 2018


Early praise for don’t get your hopes up:

Fatima Hirsi and Courtney Marie are poets of the first order: lively, inventive, wise in body and mind.  They aren’t afraid to go toward the dark; in fact they run straight at it, with relish and a genuine talent for risk.  Are poets dangerous?  Put it this way: we ignore them at our risk, and that’s especially true with these two excellent poets, whose work is as pleasurable as it is unsettling.

–Ben Fountain

In these poems, Fatima Hirsi and Courtney Marie celebrate the body in its wondrous wholeness—but there is also a record of brokenness here. These poems are a vessel containing joy and sorrow—suffering and hope. They are, in other words, much like the cup of life.

-Camille T. Dungy

don’t get your hopes up is a powerful collection of declarations rounding corners, running to embrace. These poems hold monsters next to notes. Together, they say, “i build myself a deep nest,” as though to imagine an ever-shifting space of both reckoning and healing in times of despair. It is precisely here, in “the place just behind the eyes,” that seeing becomes a political act, as clear as the avowal to never look away. Let the poems of don’t get your hopes up work through nothing less than magic.

–Sophia Terazawa

When Courtney Marie writes in the title poem, and the way we talk about it/when we don’t talk about it, she distills this collection’s accomplishment of giving voice to the peculiar aches of our most intimate relationships. Her poems’ elisions and prolepsis dilate with vulnerability, and it is from a bold and tender place where she speaks to vulnerability threat of hurt and its promise of grace. These poems understand that when we are at our most vulnerable we are neither lost nor disappeared but only misplaced. These poems know our present is crowded with the past, and that ears can just as soon strain to hear a mother’s footsteps as drown a voice with ocean. This collection speaks those oceans that span the distances between who we love, who we lose, and who we find again. Put simply, these poems are love, which—despite and because of our brokenness—find us, again and again.

— Paula Mendoza