by Cynthia Marie Hoffman



ISBN 9781938900105
Publication Date: May 2014
39 pages, 5.3” x 7”
Read Press Release (PDF)



When I was a child, I was not allowed to go into the front yard. Front Street roared between the floodwall and my grandmother’s lawn. I was afraid to sleep in the bed my great grandmother had slept in, but my sister slept in it. When she died, we were told my grandmother discovered thousands of dollars stuffed between the mattress and the box spring.


Her Human Costume, composed of twenty-six interlaced prose poems, unfolds, refolds, transforms like deft colorful origami. Quietly and intently passionate, with images that surprise and disturb, dense quick cuts make these poems sizzle. The whole builds, a learning of the alphabet, the birth of a child, the trauma of a family—domestic scenes displaced to an ethereal other world, one where “real” sheds its costume to show its other costumes, the contingent forms of our earthly habitations brought into taunting, flickering illumination.

– Susan McCabe, judge of the 2013 Poetry Chapbook Competition


Cynthia Marie Hoffman is author of Sightseer, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry, and the forthcoming Paper Doll Fetus. Hoffman has been a Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Individual Artist Fellowship, and a Director’s Guest at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. Her work has appeared in Pleiades, Mid-American Review, Vinyl Poetry, Heavy Feather Review, diode, and elsewhere.



The cover image of Her Human Costume is an original watercolor painting created for the chapbook by artist Axel Wilhite, who worked in collaboration with the Gold Line Press editorial team and Cynthia Marie Hoffman to develop this highly personal reflection of the chapbook.

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