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In a Few Minutes Before Later (Paperback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 34 color photos, 12 b&w line drawings
ISBN: 9780819501226
Published: 25th April 2024
Casemate UK Academic



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"[Hillman's] work is fierce but loving, risk-taking, and beautiful." — Harvard Review


An iconoclastic ecopoet who has led the way for many young and emerging artists, Brenda Hillman continues to re-cast innovative poetic forms as instruments for tracking human and non-human experiences. 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. Hillman proposes that poetry offers courage even in times of existential peril; her work represents what is most necessary and fresh in American poetry.


During an enchantment in the life



Do you love a living person

        absolutely? Tell them now.

In a half-unwieldy life you made, under

the hyaline sky, while the dead

         drank from zigzag pools nearby,

if they saved you in your wild incapacities,


        in timing of the world's harm

in a little pettiness in your own heart while others took

         your madrigals in shreds to a tribunal,

         when others said you should feel grateful

        to be minimally adequate for the world's

triple exposure or some tired committee...


         The ones who love us, how do they

break through our defenses?

         We're tired today. Come back later.

Their baffled voices melting our wax walls

with a candle, the ones who understand

what being is—the glowing, the broken,


the wheels, the brave ones—

        they have their courage,

you have yours,,,;

         when you meet the one you love,

it is so rare. When you meet

the one who loves you, it is extremely rare.

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