Phebe Hanson has been at work recording the book of her life since the day after Pearl Harbor in 1941. If a 21st century reader wanted to know what it felt like to be an intelligent, witty, sharply observant woman—a daughter of pious Scandinavian immigrants, a wife and mother and finally a late-blooming poet and teacher of enormous talent, they could do no better than read the work of Phebe Hanson. Here is the real texture of daily life, the sound of real voices, the affect of wars, movements, fashionable foolishness on the sensibility of a skeptical but humane intelligence. No self-pity in Phebe Hanson’s work, only a sense of wry amazement that foolish humans can still sometimes make beauty, do good and love one another, almost in spite of themselves.
Phebe Hanson, poet, beloved bard, co-founder of The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and dear friend of our agency died in January 2017.