I don’t consider myself a poetry type of guy. Southern man, ex-soldier; poetry just doesn’t fit into the self-image I’ve formed. Having said all that, I enjoyed the heck out of To Build a Home by Hinnah Mian. What’s the best way I can put it? This book moved me. From the very first sentence, it moved me. To Build a Home is a mixture of poetry and prose. Hinnah Mian is equally adept with either form. With the skill of a true master, the collection delves into the meaning of family, the painfulness of love, and the courage of a strong, indomitable spirit. The narrative is compelling. The insights are piercing, and the wisdom gained is significant. I like stories, traditionally told stories. But when someone can tell a story in an unconventional way, and I like it as well as a traditionally told tale, I am notably impressed.
There are so many clever phrases and deep thoughts in To Build a Home that it is hard to single out superior examples to write about. For example, “I have studied absence like a theory” appears to be a simple enough, straightforward thought. But the more I thought about this sentence, as I read about a love that was so often a painful experience for the poet, the more I could appreciate the subtle power of Hinnah Mian. The more I could see the depths of her skills. This is someone you have to slow down and appreciate. I am terrible at that, but her words brought me to a complete stop for a while. I like this book. I like this poetry. I may even be in love with this poet.