Jennifer Habel is the author of Good Reason, winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition. Her poems have appeared in the Believer, Gulf Coast, the Massachusetts Review, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere.
Three Women—strictly speaking, a work of nonfiction, although it pushes the boundaries of the genre as Taddeo explores the inner lives of three individuals—is going to be called a book about women and desire. That’s the beginning of it, but far from the end. Its subject is also sexual trauma, in its micro and macro forms, and how some women have tried to define themselves through sex.
These serious little songs are colored by the racial and political context of our time, our anxious vacillation between online activism and lived apathy: “I ain’t mad at you, / Assassin. It’s not the bad people who are brave / I fear, it’s the good people who are afraid.” Binaries—courage and fear, sex and death, good and bad, past and future—inhabit many of these poems, because Hayes deals in facts that shouldn’t bear repeating, but desperately do.