Brenda Hillman's eleventh volume celebrates minutes of visible and invisible existence; it is her most intimate and wide-ranging collection to date. It is also her third book about time, following books that explored seasons and days. An iconoclastic ecopoet who has led the way for many emerging artists, Hillman continues to re-cast innovative poetic forms as instruments for tracking human and non-human experiences. Twenty-four-line lyrics sit beside longer poems of architectural play to show a life of action and of contemplation. At times the poet deploys short dialogues, meditations or trance techniques as means of rendering inner states; other times she uses narrative, documentary or scientific materials to record daily events during a time of pandemic, planetary crisis, political and racial turmoil. A masterful final sequence braids images of wildfire evacuations in an homage to a long marriage. Hillman proposes that poetry offers courage even in times of existential peril; her work represents what is most necessary and fresh in American poetry.
CONTENTS • (dedication) • I. IN LANDSCAPES OF STRESS & BEAUTY • Micro-minutes on Your • Way to work • A Slightly Less Stressful Walk Uphill • Dawn Tercets with Blake & Nuthatch • Right Before Dusk, Some Meadow Fragments • A Goodness That Comes from Nothing • The Highest Part of the Dust • Poem Before the Power Went Out • Poem While the Power Was Out • & after the Power Came Back • [interruption: stichomythia] • People's Emotions in One City Block • After a Pageant, Before a Birth • Poem Describing Time to the Unborn • II. ACTIVISM & POETRY—SOME BRIEF REPORTS • The Times We Find Ourselves In • Activism & Poetry—a Brief Report : :: :: : • In the Gardens of José Marti • Notes outside West County Detention Center • [interruption: stichomythia] • Among Some Anapests at Civic Center • Wiping tear Gas off Young People • Report on Another Encounter in Nature • 6 Views of Moss Dendroalsia Abietinum • [interruption: stichomythia] • The American Burying Beetle • On the Molecules of Certain Ancestors • The Mostly Everything That Everyone Is • 1967 • III. THERE ARE MANY WOMEN TO CHERISH • Winter Daybreak Stanzas for Our Daughters • The Closing of a Midtown Bookstore • A Pattern of Minutes During Illness • For Students, After Reading the Odyssey • The Working Sister of the Muses • Lines for the 19th Amendment Centennial • [interruption stichomythia] • In Some Senses of the Word • Taking the Sunflower to the Mountains • After the Fires,,, In the Mountains,,, • S/kin • History of Punctuation on the Face • [collage essay] • IV. FOR WRITERS WHO ARE HAVING TROUBLE • A Feeling Right Before the Feeling • On Days When We Both Travel • [interruption stichomythia] • Concerning the Meaning Molecule in Poetry • The Child, Finishing Fourth Grade Online, • The Scattering of the Lyric I • The Photograph of the Black Hole • Her Map Might Change Its Arrows • [interruption stichomythia] • Dear emerging, pre-emerging & post-emerging poets, • For One Who Paused Her Writing • To the Poets of Myanmar • ::[an artist's sound, between the Farallones]:: • [interruption stichomythia] • Winter Song for One Who Suffers • V. THE SICKNESS & THE WORLD SOUL • ::: [a ragged white moth passes by]::: • [at a hospital: in the east] • [little breath circles all across town] • [: : : at equinox, same 12 squares, window : : :] • [stayed busy inside moments of not] • :::[the invisible is full for you]::: • [in the split gardens irrational hope] • [poem on a birthday::: in shelter] • [trance poem with the gray stone] • [asyndeton of adenine cytosine guanine uracil] • :::[when spring dusk fills the garden]::: • :::[lines on Easter during the sickness]::: • [for the workers suddenly less employed] • ::[untitled]:: • :::[to the voice of the age]::: • ::[in a place with no light]:: • [ ________________ ] • :::[smooth black stone has seen everything]::: • [chiasmus with all the other animals] • :::[the voice of the age chorus]::: • [pinched nerve in my white arm] • [the hive interrogates the helpless hum] • [the fourth part of a triptych ] • [untitled tableau] • VI IN A FEW MINUTES BEFORE LATER • Escape & Energy • The ground of being is changed • Escape & Logic • Punctuation at the end of time • Escape & Song • Love & Myth • The Themes in American Literature • During an enchantment in the life • Escape & Speculation • Doubt & Love • Escape & Exeunt • Epithalamium for Anxiety & Energy
"Hillman's latest collection gathers meditations on time, nature, contemporary life, social justice, and 'the ragged white moth of history' in one gorgeous stampede. These are all big poems, fully observed and richly packed with Hillman's customary linguistic brio and visceral toughness."~Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Best Books of 2022
"This is a major book for our time, never turning away from erosion and the passage of time, the loss of ecosystems, and the aging of [the poet's] own body."~Susan McCabe, Colorado Review
"There's no summarizing Brenda Hillman's poetry...[she] speaks like an amplified inner life, an intimate friend, a conscience."~Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR Staff picks "Books We Love"
"[Hillman's] most recent books are rooted in broad social and ecological interests: 'passion' is a better term. She has invented a kind of dialogue with the earth; she writes with an intimacy and directness few equal and a magnificence of conception almost no one aspires to."~Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Morton Dauwen Zabel Award 2020)
"Her verses—brimming with unconventional formats and punctuation—traverse time and space."~Alta Journal