American Anger: An Evidentiary by H.L. Hix
More than an expressive book of poems, American Anger is an evidentiary reflection of civility and self-correction. Just as a documentary assembles documents, American Anger assembles evidences: found poems, testimonies, narratives, statistics, translations of short topical excerpts from classical literature, all of which bring American anger to light. Born from the poet’s own philosophical research, these poems present current sociocultural circumstances and employ arguments of dissonance between the statements and actions of the United States government, creating an engaging social and cultural movement focused on how anger is part of everyday American life. American Anger stimulates discussion important to any concerned citizen.
Within the work, a fully developed author biography is present in its own right, affording the reader a chance to learn more about the poet through philosophy and lyricism. The interior of the book has a unique design, which is expertly typeset to create essentially a manuscript within a manuscript. A ribbon of text runs in boustrophedon, an ancient Greek writing form, like a watermark behind the poetry.
As Easy As Lying: Essays on Poetry by H. L. Hix
Accessible, erudite, and ebullient, these essays delve into the workings of the poetic mind and offer incisive assessments of contemporary American poets and poetics. Hix not only maps the landscape, he reshapes it: taking on nabobs like John Ashbery (“Every age adores a few poets in whose work posterity maintains no interest”) and presenting such disparate figures as Charles Bernstein and Dana Goia in new light, discovering the missing link between the Neo-Formal and the Post-Modern. As Easy As Lying is the best book on Modern American poetry since
Robert Hass’s Twentieth Century Pleasures.
“Hix turns out keen metrics at once playful and soulful, suggesting that there may still be room for a philosophical modernist come lately.”—Harvard Review
As Much As, If Not More Than by H.L. Hix
In As Much As, If Not More Than, H.L. Hix first harries poetry with thrusts and parries and, next, with a self-interview composed of questions quoted from other texts. Hix then tests with a stunning sequence of tributes from the poet to poets—in glosas—one of poetry’s possibilities.
As Much As, If Not More Than logs one explorer’s journey into the incompletely mapped region between prose and poetry, the territory—as H.L. Hix himself identifies it—“between speaking and singing, elenchus and jive.”
Chromatic by H. L. Hix
Chromatic bears as its epigraph the philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s assertion that “Desire is the very nature or essence of every single individual.” The three sequences of poems in Chromatic test that claim. Each borrows its title: “Remarks on Color” from Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Eighteen Maniacs” from Duke Ellington, and “The Well-Tempered Clavier” from J. S. Bach. Exploiting those predecessors, the poems in Chromatic explore the full range of effects caused by human desire, from ecstasy to despair.
“Among the new writers who interest me most at the moment. . . . Hix is cerebral, ingeniously inventive, and often scary. He is an experimental poet whose experiments usually succeed—a rare event in contemporary letters.”—Dana Gioia, Turnrow
2006 Finalist — National Book Award in Poetry
Demonstrategy: Poetry, For and Against by: H.L. Hix
Against the busy background of the “information age” and the “anthropocene,” where’s poetry? It might seem invisible, irrelevant, but Demonstrategy proves it as salient as ever, and more urgent. In paired essays about poetry in the world and the world in poetry, Demonstrategy finds poetry’s pulse steady and strong.
First Fire, Then Birds
H. L. Hix’s poetry collections have not been merely collections. Each fulfills a vision that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts: each poem contributes to a sequence, each sequence talks to another. For readers already acquainted with Hix’s ambitions, then, the subtitle “Obsessionals” (instead of “Selected Poems”) will need no explanation: from collections that don’t just collect, what sense would it make for a selection just to select?
Hix’s poems were already at work rewriting and recontextualizing the language of others, language from sources as various as fragments of Pythagoras, apocryphal gospels, and speeches of George W. Bush. In First Fire, Then Birds, Hix keeps at the task, recontextualizing his own poems, creating a revision (seeing anew) and recomposition (putting together afresh) of an already distinctive body of work.
“[H. L. Hix is] one of our most daring poets, his oeuvre a rebuke to timidity, apathy, and retreat in any of its manifestations.”—Anis Shivani, The Huffington Post
Named by The Huffington Post as one of “The 17 Most Important Poetry Books of 2010.”
God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse by H. L. Hix
In poems at once playful and grave, H. L. Hix pits excerpts from the speeches of George W. Bush against arguments from Osama bin Laden in a poetic dialogue embracing politics, literature, language, and culture. Reframing Beltway sound-bites and Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric, God Bless delves into the minds of two men whose intransigence has had global consequences.
To break the stalemate, this original sequence of poems plucks the antagonists from their bunkers in Oval Office and Afghani cave and presents them, for the first time, face to face. Hix then opens the conversation to a diverse panel of experts, including the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, CNN’s terrorism analyst, distinguished professors of Arabic and Islamic studies, and other prominent writers and authorities, who shed light on the issues raised by the poems.
“[H. L. Hix is] one of the most distinctive writers of our time.”—David Mason, The Hudson Review
I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language by H. L. Hix
In five spellbinding lyric sequences that record a lover’s dreams and a dreamer’s loves, I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language extends H. L. Hix’s ongoing poetic inquiry into spiritual and sexual ecstasy, that condition in which one becomes most oneself precisely by being transported out of oneself.
“In Hix’s beautiful poems, language and thought become physical as well as abstract realities, where one dream can split off into a thousand dreamers…”
— Paisley Rekdal, author of Animal Eye
“To read I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language is to realize that we have among us a visionary devoted to revelation.”
— Dan Beachy-Quick, author of Circle’s Apprentice
Incident Light by H. L. Hix
H. L. Hix’s Incident Light explores a life that became “instantly mythical” after a startling revelation. The artist Petra Soesemann learned at age forty-nine that the dad who had raised her from birth was not her biological father. Her dad had died some years before; her father was still alive. Her dad, like her mother, was a blue-eyed German blond; her father was Turkish, with dark eyes and dark hair like Petra’s own.
Incident Light is a biography: not an ordered account of the facts of a life, but an invitation into the dad’s devotion, the mother’s passion, the father’s honor, and especially into the daughter’s own embracing of her experience, newly understood. Incident Light testifies to the many lives that converge on one life to lend it beauty and mystery.
“Hix’s eighth collection is a fine addition to this protean poet’s fast-growing (and critically lauded) body of work. Like C.D. Wright, Hix works both with highly wrought descriptive passages and with verse that sounds like regular speech cutting swiftly between them.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Any new book by this inventive poet is cause for excitement.”—The Kansas City Star
Legible Heavens by H. L. Hix
“Hix has written the most important poetic sequences published by an American poet during the last several decades. He is the most interesting American poet writing today, the least predictable and the most challenging.”—David Caplan, Pleiades
Legible Heavens explores what the most intimate forms of experience reveal about our most cosmic concerns, and vice versa. Its four sequences act like compass points to orient a human landscape. On one axis, “Star Chart for the Rainy Season” laments love lost, appealing to the biblical assertion that “love is stronger than death, and passion more cruel,” in contrast to “Material Implication,” which celebrates love found, in sonnets of desire insistently “glowing against the dusk.” On the other axis, “All the One-Eyed Boys in Town” treats love as perdition, the speaker imagining his life as “a match scratched down your wingbones,” in contrast to “Synopsis,” which treats love as salvation, reinscribing the biblical gospels (canonical and apocryphal alike) to “solicit a miracle I must not expect.”
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