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Many of the poems in The Hunger deal with childhood trauma and its lifelong effects. These words and images show both the child's struggle to make sense of human evil and the adult's retrospective pondering of darkness in an attempt to achieve understanding. The tone is elegiac, suggested the mourning process that leads to healing. Ultimately, The Hunger is about the mind's ability to transform suffering through the language of poetry.


"Jana Hayes' The Hunger not only confronts some of the darker visions that haunt our lives, but, more importantly, transforms them into a poetry of power and survival, of transcendence and redemption. That is , it rises above so much of the journalistic and diary-like verse of the day to achieve a triumphant poetry 'soaked with the pressed essence/of what lived'." - Richard Jackson

Jana Hayes evokes the dark memories of abuse with an exquisite layering of images. But she maintains a double vision of past and present, so the reader is never in danger of being trapped in this underworld of memory. Hayes is a mature poet, so sure with metaphor that she gives this book delicacy and lightness, made especially poignant because they are juxtaposed with the brutality and coarseness of her abuse. In The Hunger, Hayes elevates confessional poetry to its highest level, redeeming personal experience by discovering its universal and mythic dimensions." - Ceil Malek, editor of The Eleventh Muse

"The power of Jana Hayes' book The Hunger lies in the contrast between the 'hammered gold' of her language and the depth of experience explored by that language. She creates a shimmering surface which never for one minute obscures the depths she is probing. She's a modern alchemist, transmuting base and painful material into valuable coinage." - Lois Hayna

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