In true Ars Poetica fashion, DJ Hill’s debut collection of poetry and collage, Homespun Mercies, underlines and epitomizes the analogy, ut picturaIn true Ars Poetica fashion, DJ Hill’s debut collection of poetry and collage, Homespun Mercies, underlines and epitomizes the analogy, ut pictura poiesis (as is painting so is poetry).
Stunning mixed-media collages and poignant, yet elegant, poetry intertwine inside Homespun Mercies to form a pathway through places, ages, and experiences. Each turn of the page brings us one step closer to a personal realization of what it means to be. With enchanting humility, DJ Hill’s skillful pen skips and twirls through a variety of poetic forms (e.g., concrete, haiku, and villanelle). The juxtaposition of imagery and subjects (e.g., Sidney, Montana and Annie Oakley) delivers the jolt needed to open our eyes and see the familiar for the first time. This beautifully wrapped gift of perspective is addressed to you, the reader, from the heart of DJ Hill. Ordinary experiences like a visit to the chiropractor and everyday objects like wedding cutlery or a newspaper, become metaphysical explorations- flipping our world upside down. All of the collages featured in Homespun Mercies appear adjacent to a related poem, except for the collage found on the cover entitled Release. Hill purposefully employs Release, as both a welcome mat on the book’s cover and a beacon; shining intermittently throughout the book to guide our journey. First, we see a cropped image of Release, coaxing us to examine its intricacy up-close while not revealing too much. Then with each subsequent appearance, our perspective changes; panning out until the entire collage is within view. This visual effect is one of many that Hill skillfully applies to illustrate how time and experiences alter our perspective. Homespun Mercies is an immersive experience that will never let us see the ordinary world in the same old way. Only after a second read, do you realize that Hill promised just that at the beginning of the book through the T.S. Eliot quote; “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Homespun Mercies is neither a poetry book nor collage collection; it’s an experience. The author provided me with a copy of both the paperback book (Light of the Moon, Inc.) and the audiobook (coming soon)*. The book alone is incredible. Its medley of Hill’s visual art and dynamic poetry beg to be savored and enjoyed over and over again. However, experiencing the audiobook and paperback book together amplifies the sensation; proving that the sum of the whole is greater than its parts. In the audiobook, each poem gains its own identity and authority to be. The accompanying music in the audiobook accentuates and elevates Hill’s words as she reads each poem. The multisensory experience is simply spellbinding.
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*View the original post of this book review and Offbeat Poet’s Book Review Policy at offbeatpoet.com. All opinions and views expressed in this review are my own and based on my personal experience with the book received from the author. I do not accept payment from authors or publishers in exchange for book reviews....more