Synopses & Reviews
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.
“This reviewer was riveted by the Holocaust poems. It is said that the world must ‘remember’ or ‘never forget.’ How can that effectively prevent anti-Semitism or any other act of mass genocide? When humanity is mentally and emotionally touched to the core with realistic accounts, then perhaps they will be moved to do more than just observe and remark about an experience far beyond their knowledge. ‘Brother Salvage’ does just that.”
--Jewish Book World
"Rick Hilles should be commended for taking on the large and risky task of writing poems on various cultures and their political histories in this book. From the Holocaust to ancient Egyptian mysteries to the work of Paul Eluard, Hilles approaches complex dimensions of history in highly crafted and brilliant poems. He is successful because he gives himself the lyrical room and forms to succeed. Each poem is different, is structured in challenging ways, and resonates with the skill and talent of a young poet coming into his own and bringing the world with him."
”Shows the power of the narrative in poetry to remind us, in concise and elegant language, of our shared humanity. . . . Between Hilles’ mastery of Keats’ ‘negative capability’ and his command of language both elegant yet clear and clean, these poems and their narrators move before the reader’s eyes, engage and entice us to listen to stories that, no matter how large or small, deserve to be heard and treasured.”
The name of the title poem--Brother Salvage: a
Winner of the 2005 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.
The poems are heartrending and incisive. Through the poet’s eloquent craft, painful histories and images (such as the Holocaust) are beautifully and luminously preserved.
About the Author
Rick Hilles teaches courses in poetry at Vanderbilt University. He has been the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholar, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and the Ruth and Jay C. Halls Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has received the Larry Levis Editor’s Prize in Poetry from The Missouri Review. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Salmagundi, and Witness.