Lessons in Breathing Underwater (Sundress Publications, 2020) lucidly examines personal catastrophe by presenting it side by side with artifacts from natural history, art, and objects of wonder. Drawing on elements of domestic fabulism and anesthetic hallucination, H.K. Hummel maps the blurry territory of trauma. Memories of her own childhood off the coast of California help her make sense of the oceanic feelings surrounding recovery and motherhood. Hummel asks about the difficult barters we make to live open and loving lives, and a chorus of historical and mythological women respond with a collective song of survival.
"H.K. Hummel’s Lessons in Breathing Underwater offers us a journey into the lyrical interiority of a life, with the body’s failure as a catalyst for discovery. They recover and celebrate—side-by-side with pain and disaster and near-death experiences--joy."
—Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country
"As its title promises, Lessons in Breathing Underwater takes the plunge to the depths of human experiences, mysteries, and calamities but does not leave the reader directionless or without solace. There are maps, instructions, wisdom, crooning, and tenderness in these forthright, yet subtly complex, poems. These are lessons we need now more than ever." —Jeanne Marie Beaumont, author of Letters from Limbo
"H. K. Hummel’s Lessons in Breathing Underwater bears testimony to the fragility of the human body. These poems resonate with pain and struggle and a deep recognition that the body that sustains also betrays. Yet what makes this collection so impressive is how it reveals within this fragility the beauty of perseverance. In Lessons in Breathing Underwater, H. K. Hummel honors the limits of our physical selves, and in so doing she celebrates the wonder of our endurance." —Steve Coughlin, author of Another City
Short-Form Creative Writing: A Writer's Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) is a complete introduction to the art and craft of extremely compressed works of imaginative literature. H. K. Hummel and Stephanie Lenox introduce both traditional and innovative approaches to the short form and demonstrate how it possesses structure, logic, and coherence while simultaneously resisting expectations. With discussion questions, writing prompts, flash interviews, and illustrated key concepts, the book covers: prose poetry, flash fiction, micro memoir, lyric essay, cross-genre/hybrid writing, and much more. Learn more.