Bright Existence


The poems in Brenda Hillman's new collection, a companion volume to her recent 'Death Tractates, ' offer a dynamic vision of a universe founded on the tensions between light and dark, existence and non-existence, male and female, spirit and matter.
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Bright Existence

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The poems in Brenda Hillman's new collection, a companion volume to her recent 'Death Tractates, ' offer a dynamic vision of a universe founded on the tensions between light and dark, existence and non-existence, male and female, spirit and matter.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the most interesting books to appear in recent years … Bright Existence is a mysterious and rich collection; of how many books can that be said? It rewards return investigations … In a contemporary poetic terrain where physical experience is being catalogued as never before, it is wonderful to have someone working the spiritual, but not spectral, upper registers with such quiet, skillful passion." —The Gettysburg Review

“The range of images in [Bright Existence] is astounding . . . Hillman’s ability to perceive the universal in the minute, the strange in the familiar, transforms everyday activities such as recycling, eating burgers an d fries at McDonald’s, and running errands (cleaners, shoe repair, butcher, dentist) into moments of spiritually charged healing . . . A fine collection.”—Choice

“Hillman’s imagistic gift is great . . . but like Frost she also has a gift for phrasing, for catching the tones of a speaker’s thought”—Mark Jarman, Hudson Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819512079
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1993
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

BRENDA HILLMAN is the author of Coffee, 3 A.M. (1982), and three other books of poetry published by Wesleyan University Press, White Dress (1985), Fortress (1989), and Death Tractates (1992). Her work has won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Prize. She teaches at ST. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. Her other books, all published by Wesleyan, include Cascadia (2001), Loose Sugar (1997), Death Tractates (1992), and Fortress (1989).
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Table of Contents

A Note about the Book
Little Furnace 1
I Twelve Dawns
Old Ice 5
Dark Existence 6
Black Series 7
The Servant 8
December Shadow 9
January Dawn 10
March Dawn 11
Blossoms Appearing 12
Every Life 13
A Vigil 14
First Thought 15
II Dark Matter
Mighty Forms 19
Adult Joy 20
Food 22
Holding On 25
Recycling Center 26
The Rat 28
Sorrow of Matter 30
The Spell 32
Several Errands 33
(interruption) 35
Dark Matter 36
The Hair 38
Toll Collector 39
III Gnostic Heaven
Gnostic Heaven 43
Magdalene 45
Meridian Plinth 49
Autumn Moon 51
(interruption) 56
Steinberg Case 57
Small Spaces 62
untitled fragment 63
untitled fragment 64
untitled fragment 65
untitled fragment 66
untitled fragment 67
A Foghorn 68
IV Bright Existence
Trapped Light 73
Vast Fluttering 74
Almost Shadow 77
Spare World 78
(interruption) 81
Branch, Scraping 82
Archaic Wanderings 84
Tom Shadow 85
Marshy Area 88
Useful Shadow 89
Luminous Textures 91
Empty Shadow 94
Bright Existence 96
The Snakeskin 99
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