A Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection.

“Arising from the history of obstetrics, midwifery, and the many possible experiences of childbirth, these lush and harrowing poems astonished me the moment I encountered them. … Hoffman creates one beautiful inhabitation after another, each a feat of dizzying perspective and musical dexterity. I have not encountered such a moving and terrifying collection of poems in years.”
—Kevin Prufer

“Sometimes dark, sometimes tender, always surprisingly imaginative. … [Paper Doll Fetus] explores pregnancy and childbirth in entirely unexpected ways.”
Library Journal

“This book fascinates, surprises, engages, and enlightens on well-trodden subject matter; it is an achievement among contemporary project books. … This book ups the game.”
Foreword Reviews

“Through the use of multiple perspectives and probing repetitions, Hoffman demands that her reader confront his or her own delicate origin and inevitable demise.”



Winner of the 2013 Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Competition

Cynthia Marie Hoffman’s poetry chapbook explores memory, family history, loss, and selfhood through a hypnotic and airtight series of prose poems whose focus and singularity bloom from every page. Hoffman’s finely honed powers of observation and personal prophecy propel this collection to a stunning conclusion that readers will not soon forget.

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

“The intimacy of the female subjects is so tightly woven that one scarcely notices the absence of conscious masculine influence. The world depicted by Hoffman of a quiet life lived by related women is a universe of its own complete with tenderness, confusion, longing, joy, wistfulness, nostalgia, and grief.”
Eleven Eleven




Winner of the 2010 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry

Sightseer is that rarity: a first book so mature, so intelligent, so wittily and deftly written that it seems not to be a first book at all.”
—Carolyn Forché

“Part travelogue, part epistle, and part reclamation of the very idea of tourism. Sightseer is a powerful collection of poems that makes a subtle and profound argument about the nature of travel, dislocation, and belonging.”
The Rumpus

“Hoffman’s genius for the visual—the tourist’s eye turned poet’s eye—manifests itself in every poem. … [Yet] Sightseer is not just an image-rich and beautiful book but a socially aware book, wisely and subtly political.”
On the Seawall

“Hoffman’s ability to conjure lovely images is enough in itself to read Sightseer. Individually, the pieces gleam like ‘a brilliant whorl of petals set to spinning.’ Read together, however, these poems construct a book of immense historic and personal power.”
Chiron Review

An unforgettable, revelatory experience.
—Erika Meitner