Incident Light: poems

Incident Light: poems

by H. L. Hix
     
 

“‘Nothing attested, everything sung.’  And these poems are the songs, the mournful lieder of a reimagined life.  H. L. Hix’s melodies are pure; his harmonies are haunting and strange. Incident Light composes a soaring chorus from the dark and private notes of long-kept secrets.”— Alyson Hagy, author of

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Overview

“‘Nothing attested, everything sung.’  And these poems are the songs, the mournful lieder of a reimagined life.  H. L. Hix’s melodies are pure; his harmonies are haunting and strange. Incident Light composes a soaring chorus from the dark and private notes of long-kept secrets.”— Alyson Hagy, author of Snow, Ashes

“Any new book by this inventive poet is cause for excitement.”—The Kansas City Star

“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

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.

H. L. Hix teaches at the University of Wyoming. His Chromatic was a finalist for the National Book Award.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hix's eighth collection is a fine addition to this protean poet's fast-growing (and critically lauded) body of work. The German-American artist Petra Soesemann, known for her abstract textiles, discovered in middle age that her father was not the man who raised her but rather a Turkish man she had never met. Hix knew Soesemann when both taught in Cleveland; he has now written a book of fragments from an imagined verse biography, riffing on incidents and themes from Soeseman's life, including her time spent in Peru. Eight-line pentameter units, most given interviewers' questions for titles (“Why did your mother tell you after all this time?”) dominate the volume, though some of its best moments (e.g., a scary recollection of a would-be killer on an airplane) occupy longer forms. Like C.D. Wright, Hix works both with highly wrought descriptive passages and with verse that sounds like regular speech cutting swiftly between them. In one poem, the Peruvian “coast, imprisoned between one/ vain desire and its equal opposite, drones/ desert dunes that mimic wave and peak alike.” In another, Soesemann recalls nearly drowning in childhood: “Mother leaves the beach then,/ comes running back with my father, who pauses/ to assess the situation,” then “swims out to save me.” (Nov.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780974599519
Publisher:
Etruscan Press
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Pages:
72
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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