A few words from Brenda Hillman

This excerpt is from Brenda Hillman’s most recent book, Extra Hidden Life Among the Days. I had a hard time with it at first, but took a workshop that helped me understand the poems are about struggling to come to terms with the ecological disasters of the current moment, trying to find a way to make poetry in the midst of political, social, and natural disaster.  Here’s a brief section from the book:


Angrily Standing Outside in the Wind

 —kept losing self control
    but how could one lose the self
 after reading so much literary theory?
The shorter “i” stood under the cork trees,
     the taller “I” remained rather passive;
 the brendas were angry at the greed, angry
that the trees would die, had lost interest
 in the posturing of the privileged,

   the gaps between can’t & won’t…
   Stood outside the gate of permissible
       sound & the wind came soughing
through the doubt debris
(soughing comes from swāgh—to resound…
echo actually comes from this also—)
  we thought of old Hegel across
the sea—the Weltgeist—& clouds
went by like the bones of a Kleenex…
        it’s too late for countries
but it’s not too late for trees…
  & the wind kept soughing
with its sound sash, wind with
        its sound sash,    increasing
bold wind with its sound sash,
            increasing bold—

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