What happens when a young woman travels the world with her lover and a dictionary? Her One Hundred and Seven Words is an exquisite prose poetry narrative about words, intimacy and touch: how we make often contradictory meanings through language; how other meanings are wordless, elusive and sometimes ineffable. This narrative delineates the contours of a relationship between a young woman who is still finding her identity and a man in his fifties. In doing so, it charts the sometimes-delicate intricacies of human affinity, attachment and disagreement in circumstances where desire is complicated by different world views and divergent assumptions. As it celebrates and quizzes human complexity, and playfully alludes to various well-known literary and cultural works, Her One Hundred and Seven Words poignantly maps various travails of human memory and connection, affectionately scrutinizing the mysteries attendant on love.
Paul Hetherington’s Her One Hundred and Seven Words leaps between the intimate, domestic, and sexual moments that make up the intertwined paths of the love traveler. The book moves the way love itself “moves like tides: mostly interlude and never a pause.” Each word celebrated in this book is a strange taste on the tongue, a 107-course meal that speaks our bittersweet limits and our sweetbitter need to live intensely before the end of the feast. It’s a gorgeous book. Read it!
—Tony Barnstone, Professor of English and Enviromental Studies, Whittier College.
Her One Hundred and Seven Words by Paul Hetherington, acknowledged master of the prose poem, is an extraordinary evocation of love between an older, erudite man and a young woman: beautiful, capricious, and irresistible. Maybe you’ve heard this story before, but not like this. Ripe with colors and scents, synesthesia, sadness and joy, “dark enchantment and animal rhythms,” cherries and butterflies, murmurations of birds, it is a tale whose trajectory ... is embodied in the two opposite meanings of the word “cleave”. The reader is held rapt in the to-and-fro ... it is a gorgeous labyrinth of love, allusion, and absolutely luscious language.
—Moira Egan, Poet and Translator.