BORED IN ARCANE CURSIVE BENEATH LODGEPOLE BARK
H. L. Hix demonstrates a Thoreauvian burrowing of the mind—a burrowing of fifty poems—into fifty “seed sentences” from fifty “soil texts” from natural history. The poems burrow, too, into common yet rarified encounters with “the carcass of an elk,” or the sun which “contains all direction,” or the “breathing of Breathing” of a “fresh-brushed red-brown ribcage-rounded coat” of a horse. We readers are invited to burrow along with Hix, not unlike “generations of a beetle species” who can “migrate /deeper into a cave than any individual / could travel to get out.” The exploration yields glimpses of the mystic part and the elusive, mythic whole as well as a profound and sobering reflection of the human experience upon planet Earth.
—Aaron M. Moe, author of exhalations
This brilliant, dense collection of H.L. Hix is one of longing and searching for meanings and ontological answers. The speaker in the poems yearns to be the “visitor,” the observer of the unobserved and of the “secrets” that are “not written to be read” in a world of juxtapositions and similarities of patterns and instability, a world of interconnectedness, classifications, predictions, and affinities. It’s nevertheless a world replete with loneliness and loss, brokenness in body and spirit, with questions and memories not fully answered or understood, answers not finite in their “continuity of forces” that continue to create more layers of unknowing and mystery, spiritual substance and callings, “glyphs” and “glimmerings,” a movement towards both life and death with no “after” from the “before” that’s with “no deepest.” Lines blur between understandings and form and “miscible bodies.” Touch and surfaces are not enough to know something, as all things “articulate” in their own ways, their own language (from Hustak and Myers quote). Still,
the speaker asks:
My profligate blossom, make me your besotted bee.
This book, a type of found poetry, with its reference quotations, nursery rhyme and poetry allusions, connects with, yet deconstructs, the self and the world of natural history as sources of knowing—from the realms of science, mental associations, physical order, the naming and
defining of things. The speaker still does “mean to sing” through all the repeating intangibles. In the end, it’s the tanagers who beautifully tell and remind of the speaker’s “coming unstructured.”
—Lynne Goldsmith, author of Secondary Cicatrices and By Light and Hidden Matter
About the Author
H.L. Hix was born in Oklahoma and raised in the south. He earned his BA from Belmont College and PhD in philosophy from the University of Texas. His collections of poetry include Perfect Hell (1996), Rational Numbers (2000), Surely as Birds Fly (2002), Shadows of Houses (2005), Chromatic (2006), God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse (2007), Legible Heavens (2009), Incident Light (2009), First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010 (2010), and As Much As, If Not More (2014). His prose works include Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes: Legacies of Postmodern Theory (1995), As Easy As Lying: Essays on Poetry (2002), and Lines of Inquiry (2011). He has co-translated the work of Estonian poets such as Eugenijus Alisanka, Juri Talvet, and Juhan Liiv. His editing projects include the anthologies Wild & Whirling Words: A Poetic Conversation (2004), New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States (2008) and Made Priceless: A Few Things Money Can’t Buy (2012).
Hix’s honors and awards include the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Grolier Prize, and the Peregrine Smith Award. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas-Austin and Shanghai University. He currently teaches at the University of Wyoming.
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