Danielle Hanson's debut collection, Ambushing Water, finalist for the 2016 Brick Road Poetry Press Prize. Order here or from Amazon or local bookseller.


Ambushing Water

Finalist, 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award

Finalist, 2016 Brick Road Poetry Award

Finalist, 2016 Codhill Poetry Award

Finalist, 2015 Robert Dana Prize for Poetry 

Finalist, 2015 Blue Lynx Prize

Semifinalist, 2015 Richard Snyder Prize

Semifinalist, 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize 

Semifinalist, 2015 Codhill Poetry Award

Finalist, 2014 Robert Dana Prize for Poetry 

Finalist, 2014 Blue Lynx Prize

Semifinalist, 2014 Crab Orchard Poetry Series

Semifinalist, 2014 The Washington Prize

Finalist, 2013 Codhill Poetry Award

Semifinalist, 2013 42 Miles Press Poetry Award 

Semifinalist, 2013 Crab Orchard Poetry Series

Semifinalist, 2012 42 Miles Press Poetry Award 

Semifinalist, 2012 Elixir Press Antivenom Award 

Runner Up, 2011 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize 

Semifinalist, 2011 Crab Orchard Poetry Series 


This book is wonderfully wild! A man eats his wife’s ashes in his cereal every morning. An elderly woman’s breasts are like “pelican beaks full with fish.” Flies make nests of our dreams, and anything can be part-bird or part-bug. Shadows are important. So are puddles. They are possible worlds to be explored — “the water not as a mirror but a window” to be climbed through. Danielle Hanson’s poems reside in shadows and daydreams, but they are not whimsy. They are weighted by emotion. Inside an empty mailbox there is a longing, a loneliness, and Hanson allows that emptiness to evolve into “a small species of bird/with the call of late night radio.” I swear, I have heard that bird call before. I really love these poems.

- Georgia Author of the Year Judge Statement


Danielle Hanson must be the incarnation of Gaston Bachelard’s ideal poet, a poet who acutely observes a world as she makes it new. With a vocabulary of images as diverse as slugs, animals, flowers, constellations and emotions, as well as startling situations, she brings us a surrealistic vision that also reads like a rational explanation. A poem titled “Eating His Dead Wife” gives us one side, a bird eating the reflection of a building gives us another. When she travels, her succinct, epigrammatic descriptions reveal more than most poets can in much longer poems: “The cobblestones were tense and/ looking for crumbs. The sea / waiting to devour the sun,” she says about Puerto Angel. This is an amazing first book, book I cherish, for every page I turn makes me see the world differently, astoundingly, reverently. It’s a book that never ends.

Richard Jackson, author of Traversings and Out of Place


Danielle Hanson’s new book Ambushing Water has a deliberate clarity that vibrates through her music and imagery like a crystal glass tapped gently with the bright butter knife. Danielle has always written the most original, provocative yet inevitable love poems. She is simply brilliant.

Norman Dubie, winner of the international Griffin Poetry Prize  


So often in this collection, the circumstance in a single poem offers an unlikely though compelling route into intimacy—“eating his dead wife’s ashes/in his cereal every morning” for example—until the circumstances build to near breaking and the poems show themselves as a constant, valiant, smart struggle to keep the always-vulnerable speaker above water.  So many new words are quietly and easily introduced to the world—earthfish, rainstars, mooncat, slugquistadores, sky-puddles—which seems appropriate in these efforts at finding new places to find purchase, new ways to hold on.  The poems repeatedly find that new ground, and as readers we hold on just as firmly as the speaker every time.

Alberto Rios, Arizona's inaugural Poet Laureate and author of A Small Story About the Sky


Ambushing Water is compelling in its restraint:  lyricism is deepened and amplified in these often short, always indelible poems.  Danielle Hanson writes of the mysteries of the natural world:  “How laughable is the moon / as an equal sign.”  This interrogation of worlds, inner and outer, the self and the earth, gives this collection its transformative power and renders everything new and strange and beautiful.

Paul Guest, author of The Resurrection of the body and the Ruin of the World, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers series author


Danielle Hanson's Ambushing Water crashes into the senses like a wave into the earth. Hanson's language is crystal sharp and her imagery sparks off the page like the glittering glare of the sun in still water. Ambushing Water shows the reader "the beautiful distortions of the earth" in each poem. The familiar sight of a bird--a recurring image thought Hanson's collection--transforms into a "French Recipe," a painting, and "a tulip." Through the eyes of the speaker in Hanson's poems, the reader sees the world changed, as if she is looking at its image in an undulating pool. In the end, Ambushing Water lets the reader see the world through the poet's eyes and the reader is left reverent and awed. 

- Pirene's Fountain


Rather than nature’s astounding the speaker, it is she who takes nature by surprise . . .I enjoyed Ambushing Water and will read it again . . . Hanson is a talented writer whose peak is still ahead.

Eyedrum Periodically


In this short collection, I encountered gasp after gasp of discoveries. The images are strange and precise, surreal and darkly comical. . . After gulping down fifty poems in a single sitting, I felt the world had tilted. Days later, visions keep swirling in my mind. Now I want to go back and savor the book more slowly, if I dare. Sleep hides in the corner 'afraid of the dark as a nightmare / crossed the sky'....

-Jackie Craven, Goodreads


Listed on Burningword Literary Journal's Recommended Reading 

Photo by  Erin Brauer

Photo by Erin Brauer