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Bright Existence

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  127 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The poems in Brenda Hillman's new collection, a companion volume to her recent Death Tratates, offer a dynamic vision of a universe founded on the tensions between light and dark, existence and non-existence, male and female, spirit and matter. Informed in part by Gnostic concepts of the separate soul in search of its divine origins ("spirit held by matter"). This dualisti ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Wesleyan
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Farren
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
HOT DAMN JESUS CHRIST ON TOAST this was an amazing volume of poetry.

In terms of concept, the book's a sleeper--it creeps up on you rather than bashing your head in and getting all monotonous. And I ordinarily don't really care much for the hallucinatory strolling nature pmz (here Robert Hass' influence is evident) but I don't even mind it all that much because it's a means to an end, a backdrop against which series of ideas and revelations unspool with this really gorgeous awkward sort of grace
...more
alyssa carver
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
i probably read this book cover-to-cover at once or twice a year, and return to individual poems even more often. i don't know if i'll ever understand it fully. it might behoove me to study some gnostic texts. but the amazing thing about this book is how much i do get it, even when i have no idea what she's talking about or why there are two random commas at the beginning of a line of verse. there's an elemental conflict at work on every page. so i keep coming back to it.

my only complaint: this
...more
Angie Orlando
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Brenda Hillman based this book of poetry on the Ghnostic world view. I did a little research online, but that did little to improve my understanding. Sure, the poems sound cool. Most of it was light-years over my head. I found two gems written on odd subjects that Hillman turns into something of great beauty. First is about Hillman as a mother, pulling live out of her daughter's hair. In the second poem, her lover has a pubic hair stuck on his tongue and "gives it back" through a kiss. Yes, live ...more
C
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry



The Servant


--So you whispered to the soul Rise up!
but the soul was not ready.
--Get up! It's our turn! But that part of the soul
stayed still. So you checked this list

of those who existed

but the soul was not on the list, the soul
responded to none of those things.
Very well, you said. He sank back in his furs.
And you started across the plain to the one he loved--
Brian
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was interested to see what a poet would do with gnostic religious thought. I'm less interested now. I did enjoy some of the work, e.g., "...and I've been trying/ to love the missingness in the middle,/ the caves of wounded magic;...".
Lesley
Sep 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Definitely ambitious. You've got to be in the mood for deep-thinking for this one. But it's good. Not the type of poetry I usually gravitate toward, but beautifully and artfully written, and worth the read.
Juliet
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
4 1/2 stars.

"...............The flash of non-
existence always at the edge of vision,
and in the next moment, some unasked for radiance."
Sierra
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some of the initial poems are very beautiful, but the gender essentialism and heteronormativity is frustrating. Worth a read but brace yourself.
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Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Thought provoking.
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