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Book Title

Blind Huber

Author 1
Nick Flynn
I sit in a body & think of a body, I picture
Burnens' hands, my words
make them move. I say, plunge them into the hive,
& his hands go in.
—from "Blind Huber"

Blindness does not deter François Huber—the eighteenth-century beekeeper—in his quest to learn about bees through their behavior. Through an odd, but productive arrangement, Huber's assistant Burnens becomes his eyes, his narrator as he goes about his work. In Nick Flynn's extraordinary new collection, Huber and Burnens speak and so do the bees. The strongest virgin waits silently to kill the other virgins; drones are "made of waiting"; the swarm attempts to protect the queen. It is a cruel existence. Everyone sacrifices for the sweet honey, except the human hand that harvests it all in a single afternoon.

Blind Huber is about the body, love, and devotion and also about the limits of what can be known and what will forever be unknown. Nick Flynn's bees and keepers—sometimes in a state of magnificent pollen-drunk dizziness—view the world from a striking and daring perspective.

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Award-winning poet Nick Flynn takes readers into the dangerous and irresistible center of the hive

About the Author

Nick  Flynn
Credit: Ryan McGinley
Nick Flynn is the author of four poetry books, including I Will Destroy YouMy Feelings, and Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and three memoirs, including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in New York.
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  • “Flynn imaginatively enters the rarefied existence of a French 18th century beekeeper named François Huber. . . . As fascinated by the bees’ point of view as by Huber’s phenomenal ability to divine their ways through sound, touch, and smell, Flynn writes with exquisite delicacy and transporting agility not only of the blind apiarist’s vivid perceptions but also of the experiences of drones, workers, and queens. Spellbound within wax edifices beneath a honey rain, Flynn succinctly and resonantly contrasts the dense and thrumming bee realm with our own buzzing, bittersweet world of avid appetites and aggressions. longing, and valor.”—Booklist
  • “The compact and compelling lyric sequence imagines Huber, Burnens, and the bees themselves as they reveal their nature, and their behavior over Huber’s long and patient life.”—Publishers Weekly
  • "Nick Flynn's bees and beekeepers—sometimes in a state of magnificent pollen-drunk dizziness—offer meditations on the body, love, devotion, and about nature and the limits of knowledge."—Poetry Daily
  • "Nick Flynn skillfully delves into the minds of honeybees and that of Blind Huber to deliver a collection of poems that resonate."—Mid-American Review
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