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Practical Water

Brenda Hillman

Publication Year: 2009

Practical Water is, like Brenda Hillman's previous two books, Cascadia and Pieces of Air in the Epic, both an elemental meditation and an ecopoetics; this time her subject is water: Taoist water, baptismal water, water from the muses' fountains, the practical waters of hydrology from which we draw our being--and the stilled water in a glass in a Senate chamber. Not since Allen Ginsberg tried to levitate the Pentagon has American poetry seen the likes of the hallucinatory wit and moral clarity that Hillman brings to Washington in her poems about Congressional Hearings on the Iraq War. Here also--because it is about many kinds of power--is a sequence of twinned lyrics for the moon, governess of tides and night vision, for visible and invisible faces. Violence and the common world, fact and dream, science and magic, intuition and perception are reconfigured as the poet explores matters of spirit in political life and earthly fate. If it is time to weep by the waters of Babylon, it is also time to touch water's living currents. No one is reimagining the possibilities of lyric poetry with more inventiveness; this is masterful work by one of our finest poets.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Contents

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pp. ix-xi

One

Partita for Sparrows

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p. 3-3

Practical Water

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pp. 4-6

Enchanted Twig

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pp. 7-9

Ballad at the State Capitol

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pp. 10-11

Rhopalic Aubade

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p. 12-12

International Dateline

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p. 13-13

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The Eighties: An Essay

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pp. 14-15

A friend asks, “What was at stake for you in the Eighties?” She’s trying to figure out Bay Area Poetry. There was Reagan’s New Morning for America.Garfield dolls stuck to the backs of windshields with suction cups. At the be-ginning of the Eighties I was married & at the end i was not. The Civil Rights Movement became kind of quiet. Feminism became kind of quiet. An editor...

[i looked up from my reading]

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p. 16-16

Phone Booth

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p. 17-17

Tiergarten Scenes

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pp. 18-20

Autumn Fugue

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p. 21-21

Shadows in Snow

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p. 22-22

Landing in Fog

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p. 23-23

Pacific Ocean

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pp. 24-30

TWO

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Reportorial Poetry, Trance & Activism: An Essay

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p. 32-32

Reportorial poetics can be used to record detail with immediacy while one is doing an action & thinking about something else. Experience crosses over with that which is outside experience; the unknown receives this information as an aquifer receives replenishing rain. Meditative states can be used to cross material boundaries, to allow you to be in several places at once, such as Congress & ancient Babylon...

In a Senate Armed Services Hearing

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pp. 34-36

Northern California Women

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pp. 37-38

Dragonskin

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pp. 39-40

Near the Great Arch

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p. 41-41

A Violet in the Crucible

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pp. 42-43

Girl Sleuth

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p. 44-44

From the White House Lawn

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p. 45-45

Permission to Be Strange

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p. 46-46

The Late Cold War

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p. 47-47

In a House Subcommittee on Electronic Surveillance

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pp. 48-49

In the Trance

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p. 50-50

Economics in Washington

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pp. 51-53

THREE

September Moon / September Moon

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p. 57-57

October Moon / October Moon

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p. 58-58

November Moon / November Moon

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p. 59-59

December Moon / December Moon

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p. 60-60

January Moon / January Moon

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p. 61-61

February Dawn / February Moon

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p. 62-62

March Moon / March Moon

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p. 63-63

April moon / April moon

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p. 64-64

May Moon / May Moon

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p. 65-65

June Moon / June Moon

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p. 66-66

July Moon / July Moon

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p. 67-67

August Moon / September Moon

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p. 68-68

FOUR

Pacific Storms

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p. 71-71

Anthem for Aquifers

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pp. 72-74

Local Water & the Universal Sea

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p. 75-75

Request to the Berkeley City Council Concerning Strawberry Creek

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pp. 76-77

Berkeley Water

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pp. 78-79

The Covenant

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p. 80-80

Earth's Shadow

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pp. 81-83

Sacramento Delta

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p. 84-84

Hydrology of California: An Ecopoetical Alphabet

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pp. 85-95

Neap Tide

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pp. 96-97

Still Points in Water

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p. 98-98

To a Desert Poet

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pp. 99-100

Acknowledgments & Notes

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pp. 101-103


E-ISBN-13: 9780819571113
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819569318

Page Count: 120
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Wesleyan Poetry Series

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