“The kinds of things that poetry can offer are timeless - mainly the kind of compression it offers of powerful language, powerful feelings and images, and, you know, the inner experience becoming outer.” – Brenda Hillman
Born in Tucson, Ariz., on this date in 1951, Hillman is the author of 9 collections of poetry, including Bright Existence; Practical Water, for which she won the LA Times Book Award for Poetry, and Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, which received the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Northern California Book Award for Poetry.
A “writer” of poetry since age 9 (“the first time I wrote a poem that I was proud of,”) Hillman is known for poems that draw on elements of found texts and document, personal meditation, and observation including about topics like geology, the environment, politics, family, and spirituality.
A multiple award winner for her works, she also has been the recipient of Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. A professor of Creative Writing (she holds the Olivia Filippi Chair in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California), Hillman was recently elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“The techniques of contemporary poetry are probably the techniques of your daily life,” she says as a word of advice and how to deal with your thought processes. “I don't know a single person who goes into the grocery store and thinks in complete sentences. We often think in fragments, we think in little lists, we think in non-sequiturs, we think in feelings that may not match up with each other.”
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