July 2, 2010

H. L. Hix

H. L. Hix [USA]

H. L. Hix was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and grew up in small towns in the south. He earned his B.A. in English and philosophy from Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, whose campus—with its “sward” and “towers”—was once the home of the girls’ finishing school memorialized in John Crowe Ransom’s “Blue Girls.” He took his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin.

Hix taught philosophy and literature for fifteen years at the Kansas City Art Institute, then held an administrative role at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and is now Professor of English and director of the creative writing M.F.A. at the University of Wyoming. Recognitions afforded his poetry include the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and an NEA fellowship.

Hix’s dozen books include works on contemporary continental philosophy (e.g. Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes: Legacies of Postmodern Theory), works of practical criticism (e.g. Understanding William H. Gass), and poetics (e.g. As Easy Lying: Essays on Poetry). His book about poetry, God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse, was published in 2007.

He reports an inability to decide whether he is trying to write poetry that is sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic, his claims for poetry having included three of these.


Perfect Hell (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 1996); Rational Numbers (Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press, 2000); Surely As Birds Fly (Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press, 2002); Shadows of Houses (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2005); Chromatic (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2006); Legible Heavens (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2008); First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010 (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2010)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

from “The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle”

Stubble rows, four matte, four shiny in morning sun,
show the combine’s direction. What can be preserved
must be preserved as some self other than its own.
Bent cattails mimic stubble in the frozen pond.
Suet nearly gone, chickadees cling upside down
to the feeder. Above it, a hedgeapple wedged
between branches since fall. Past that, changing direction
at once, fast as mackerel, a thousand blackbirds.
Skaters on a pond, we fall into what we know,
drown in disorienting light before we freeze.
In angled afternoon sun, the fence’s shadow
caresses the snow’s contours like tight-fitting clothes.
Even when grass greens to re-enact spring, the snow
will linger, longest in the shadows of houses.

Reprinted from Shadows of Houses (Youngstown, Ohio: Etruscan Press, 2005). Copyright ©2005 by H. L. Hix.

No comments: