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Brenda Hillman Bright Existence


<P>The poems in Brenda Hillman's new collection, a companion volume to her recent Death Tratates, offer a dynamic vision of a universe founded on the tensions between light and dark, existence and non-existence, male and female, spirit and matter. Informed in part by Gnostic concepts of the separate soul in search of its divine origins («spirit held by matter»). This dualistic vision is cast in contemporary terms and seeks resolution of these tensions through acceptance.</P>

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Brenda Hillman Fortress

Brenda Hillman Death Tractates


<P>From the depths of sorrow following the sudden death of her closest female mentor, Brenda Hillman asks anguished questions in this book of poems about separation, spiritual transcendence, and the difference between life and death. Both personal and philosophical, her work can be read as a spirit-guide for those mourning the loss of a loved one and as a series of fundamental ponderings on the inevitability of death and separation. At first refusing to let go, desperate to feel the presence of her friend, the poet seeks solace in a belief in the spirit world. But life, not death, becomes the issue when she begins to see physical existence as «an interruption» that preoccupies us with shapes and borders. «Shape makes life too small,» she realizes. Comfort at last comes in the idea of «reverse seeing»: that even if she cannot see forward into the spirit world, her friend can see «backward into this world» and be with her. </P><P>Death Tractates is the companion volume to a philosophical poetic work entitles Bright Existence, which Hillman was in the midst of writing when her friend died. Published by Wesleyan University Press in 1993, it shares many of the same Gnostic themes and sources.</P>

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Brenda Hillman Extra Hidden Life, among the Days


<P>Brenda Hillman begins her new book in a place of mourning and listening that is deeply transformative. By turns plain and transcendent, these poems meditate on trees, bacteria, wasps, buildings, roots, and stars, ending with twinned elegies and poems of praise that open into spaces that are both magical and archetypal for human imagination: forests and seashores. As always, Hillman's vision is entirely original, her forms inventive and playful. At times the language turns feral as the poet feels her way toward other consciousnesses, into planetary time. This is poetry as a discipline of love and service to the world, whose lines shepherd us through grief and into an ethics of active resistance. Hillman's prior books include Practical Water and Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, which received the Griffin Prize for Poetry. Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days is a visionary and critically important work for our time. A free reader's companion is available online at http://brendahillman.site.wesleyan.edu. </P><P><B>Hardcover is un-jacketed.</B></P>

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Brenda Hillman Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire


<P><B>Winner of the Griffin Poetry Trust's International Poetry Prize (2014)</B><BR><B>Runner-up for the Northern California Book Reviewers Northern California Book Award (2014)</B></P><P>Fire— its physical, symbolic, political, and spiritual forms—is the fourth and final subject in Brenda Hillman's masterful series on the elements. Her previous volumes—Cascadia, Pieces of Air in the Epic, Practical Water—have addressed earth, air, and water. Here, Hillman evokes fire as metaphor and as event to chart subtle changes of seasons during financial breakdown, environmental crisis, and street movements for social justice; she gathers factual data, earthly rhythms, chants to the dead, journal entries, and lyric fragments in the service of a radical animism. In the polyphony of Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, the poet fuses the visionary, the political, and the personal to summon music and fire at once, calling the reader to be alive to the senses and to re-imagine a common life. This is major work by one of our most important writers. Check for the online reader's companion at brendahillman.site.wesleyan.edu.</P>

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