I had the honor of conducting another interview with Brenda Hillman on December 12, 2022. The subject was her new book In A Few Minutes Before Later. It is wonderful to see a poet evolving in such a beautiful way as Brenda is, following her own “permission to be strange.” I will be facilitating a deep dive into this book between January 8 and the middle of May in our online workshops. There is room in the Thursday night session, Poetics as Cosmology. Info here.
My introduction to the interview:
Bryophytes, chlorpyrifos & the protest voices are but three images in one poem by Brenda Hillman early on in her new book In a Few Minutes Before Later published by Wesleyan University Press. The L.A. Review of Books said the new book features: “a determinedly expansive poetry that includes prose, photographs, diagrams, pedigree charts, and all sorts of typographical expressionism.” She draws on influences including Henri Bergson, Muriel Rukeyser, Fred Moten and Lorine Niedecker to create an idiosyncratic gesture that’s ecological, activist, playful and vulnerable. There is no poet like her writing today and possibly forever and she’s our Zoom guest today to talk about In a Few Minutes Before Later. Brenda, before we get into the new book, may I ask you when you gave yourself “Permission to be Strange?”
Podcast (prophets-podcast): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:00:30 — )
wonderful interview that came into my ears at 6am this morning…
thank you for this
Listening to Hillman’s comment on how we objectify animals and even other humans brought to mind Don McKay’s book Vis a Vis. McKay calls this appropriation as us viewing animals and nature itself as objects or material. “The armchair is suddenly crouched in such defamiliarizations…its alien being.” A lover reminds us of our mortality. McKay poses the question whether these appropriations are, in fact, a denial of our mortality and that we “inflict our rage for immortality on things, marooning them on static islands.”
I have been thoroughly enjoying the poetry from A Few Minutes Before Later. Her writings of protest and her care of environmental concerns in truly inspired. i have enjoyed reading her ‘experimentations’ with line breaks, punctuation and other ‘conventions’. The stories in the book along with the photos make it a deep dive into what really matters in this world we all find ourselves in now.
My cup of tea today overflows with gratitude for Hillman and Korte and especially Paul Nelson, for without the latter, I would not have found the former two. These and the other foundational essays researched, accumulated, and encouraged by Paul fill my large mug to the brim, offer clouds within the reflection of a larger open sky on which this midwestern, non-Cascadian, obscure guy might have never happened. Thanks!