ontheedgeofnoOn The Edge of No Answer

Prose Poems

Joal Hetherington

128 pp., 6.5 x 8.5, Paperback


May 2017





Whether turning their gaze to Midas’s daughter or the silverware in a kitchen drawer, the immersive experience of reading or the dislocation of looking into a rearview mirror, the everyday or the surreal, Joal Hetherington’s prose poems reveal fractal complexities and glimpses of the rich weave of emotion and experience that inhabit even the most innocuous words and gestures.

Like diamonds incubated in the depths or carried to earth by meteorites, Joal Hetherington’s poems arrive from the depths of her closely observed life and the vast starry realms of dream and intuition. The many-faceted, jewel-like shine of these pieces speaks to her ability to offer surprise and insight several times over in even the smallest poem. I have never encountered this mix of intelligence, heart, and mystery before. But I am deeply grateful that I have now.

—Mekeel McBride, author of Dog Star Delicatessen

There’s a refreshing humility in Hetherington’s art, a discreet intelligence that understands the soul must be approached obliquely. To that end, the prose poems in On the Edge of No Answer unveil their gifts by means of an entrancing wordplay. Language is center stage—puns, idioms, aphorisms, phonetic play, double meanings, and turns of phrase provide a playful and musical structure for subtle insights and nuanced emotions that slip through not as meanings but as the revelations of a clear and gentle spirit.

—Kimberly Cloutier Green, author of The Next Hunger

Joal Hetherington’s poems are swashbuckling, sly, and resonant. She’s like an Indiana Jones of the mind, skillfully excavating treasures, unearthing insight from the likes of ink, mermaids, snow, railroad tracks, missed phone calls, magicians’ hats—any number of objects, emotions, and materials, and within language itself. Even punctuation marks and pronouns share hidden truths. What a relief and reward to find a writer who insists on seeing the world this deeply.

—Shelley Girdner, author of You Were That White Bird

Reading a Hetherington poem is like examining a fine diamond—each word, each facet, a tiny, shimmering surprise.

—Andy Merton, author of Lost and Found


JOAL (JODY) HETHERINGTON has been caught up in the crafting of words all her life. She has received awards for both her poetry and fiction from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and her work has been published in Common Ground Review. An earlier chapbook, Life in Prism: Selected Prose Poems, was published in 2014. She is a cofounder of Pen Central, a small organization that offers writing workshops in the Maine/New Hampshire Seacoast area. She lives in southern Maine.