Brother Salvage


In this remarkably fulfilled first book I salute a visionary poet who has eluded the provincialism of our American Narcissus: Hilles has gathered violent glosses and ventriloquial gleams from the ruined scriptures of Europe, reaching as far back as Swedenborg, Novalis, even Catherine Blake, and as far ahead as what I had (wrongly) supposed the sealed echo-chamber of the Holocaust. Hence the sought and granted power of his luminous texts, so reticent yet so generous, their authority proceeding from banked energies of consultation.
Richard Howard
Winner of the 2005 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2007 Foreword Magazine Poetry Book of the Year

The name of the title poem—“Brother Salvage: a genizah,” provides a skeleton key to unlock the powerful forces that bind Rick Hilles’s collection. A genizah is a depository, or hiding place, for sacred texts. It performs a double function: to keep hallowed objects safe and to prevent more destructive forces from circulating and causing further harm. Brother Salvage serves exactly this purpose. The poems are heartrending and incisive, preserving stories and lives that should not be forgotten. Yet, through the poet’s eloquent craft, painful histories and images are beautifully and luminously contained. Like scholars sifting through ancient genizahs in search of spiritual and historical insights, readers immersed in Brother Salvage will find, at the heart of the book, the most sacred entity: hope.

88 Pages, 5.9 x 9 in.

August, 2006

isbn : 9780822959359

about the author

Rick Hilles

Rick Hilles is assistant professor of English at Vanderbilt University and is the author of the poetry collection Brother Salvage, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. He has been the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholar, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and a Ruth and Jay C. Halls Fellow at the University of WisconsinÐMadison. Hilles is the recipient of a Whiting WritersÕ Award and the Larry Levis EditorÕs Prize in Poetry from the Missouri Review. He and his wife, the fiction writer Nancy Reisman, live in Nashville.

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Rick Hilles