"H. L. Hix is that rare poet who is equal parts historian, journalist, archivist, and singer."Susan M. Schultz
"Nobody now at work in American verse combines [H. L. Hix's] attraction to programmatic Big Projects (narrative, philosophical, or procedure driven) with his supple interest in older tones and forms."
Stephen Burt, The Believer
First in The Huffington Post list of The 17 Most Important Poetry Books of Fall 2010.”
[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
From "Orders of Magnitude":
Songs surround us, but we hardly hear them.
Jostling girls laugh in rapid Japanese.
The neighbor's sprinkler fortes for the part
of its arc that frets the climbing rose. Crows
bicker. One woman solicits her scales,
a cappella. Another sobs. Windchimes
domino the direction of each gust.
A broom rasps across warped, weathered porch boards.
I did it, Mama, a child says. Songs fall
on us as feathers fall on a river.
H. L. Hix's poetry collections have not been merely collections. Each 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, 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 language from various sources: 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 a distinctive body of work. Readers already aware of this essential writer's work will find here its fullest development; others will be welcomed into the
8 Even Be It Built of Boards…
11 So I Might Have Your Company in Hell
24 Orders of Magnitude
50 Thistle, Clover, Rape
55 The God of Restlessness
64 The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle
87 Remarks on Color
94 Eighteen Maniacs
106 The Well-Tempered Clavier
123 All the One-Eyed Boys in Town
135 Material Implication
142 Though What Falls Fall Hard…
147 This Particular Eden
149 Child of Their Old Age
155 Less Said
157 Toward a Prodigal Logic
164 First Term
190 Star Chart for the Rainy Season
193 A Study of Thermodynamics
200 A Manual of Happiness
219 The Prophets
230 The Letters