Poetry

PLOWING THE CANVAS

Considering narcotics or a cliff
to jump from to escape life’s spasms,

its stench, its futile clinging to reflexes,
and also since we dig ourselves

into the ground while still warm––
the question of how to make it

from one margin to the other,
to traverse the canvas via lines

of color, in rows of beans and corn,
leaving spaces, at the end, for air.

 

(Beloit Poetry Journal, Vol 58, No 2, Winter 2007)

SPINDRIFT AND THE HEART

No quick flashes, the minnows’
field of darts, only the clarified
form––a large fish, its cool shield
unhurried and slick as shadow,

sinking below the surface, away
from the waves’ stacked wheels
tripping over themselves as they
topple and foam to the shore––

down to where plankton settles
like snow, where the pale creatures
scull and sift into a wide-mouthed
murky darkness––and here, below

the blood’s agitation, to resume
again, to suppose translucence.

 

BIRD IN SPACE

          for my father

A golden feather
sanded smooth, a slenderness
in small print.

In the brain’s geography,
your absence is a distant place  ––
like the mountains we walked in

the day grandmother’s straw hat
blew off into the valley
and I cried.

You were kind
and said there would be another,
but I knew better.

The life of birds: most fledglings
won’t reach an age suitable for building
a nest of their own.

REVIEW BY CARL LITTLE

Leonore Hildebrandt writes with rich language in a mode that intrigues. Her poetry resembles the painting by Susan Hammond that is tipped in on the front flyleaf of this exquisitely designed chapbook: abstract, light-streaked, hinting at parallel worlds. Hammond's brushstrokes activate a canvas while Hildebrandt's lines, arranged in finely-wrought stanzas, lend energy to the page. Order supports imagination.

TO THOSE WHO COME AFTER

"An die Nachgeborenen," Bertolt Brecht. Translation by Leonore Hildebrandt and Tony Brinkley

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Rilke's Duino Elegies: Fifth Elegy, translation co-authored with Tony Brinkley. Cerise Press. We also comment on translating Rilke.

Rilke's Cemetery by the Sea,  translation co-authored with Tony Brinkley. Ezra Translation.

TO THE SUN

 "An die Sonne,"  Ingeborg Bachmann, Translation by Leonore Hildebrandt and Tony Brinkley

TO THE SUN

Lovelier than the moon with its ennobled light,
Lovelier than the stars, renowned medallions of the night,
Lovelier by far than a swift comet’s fire,
Summoned to loveliness—more than any other in the heavens—
Because her days sustain your life and mine—the Sun.

FIRST PERSON IN TROUBLE

When asked to take a stance, the word straightens,
feet braced apart, elbows jutting. Clears its throat
to field questions: Is it still the same?

Left alone, it talks motherese with the creatures,
plays in the shelter of large boulders.
The word finds precautions are never enough.

But then - the stage ready––it settles into lines,
stringing together. Why was it born? Who will attend
its funeral? The curtains swing open.

BURNT UMBER

A man has come down the embankment. He enters the house, heaves himself up the stairs as if drunk. In the morning he wakes on a wooden bench, the room full of stagnant hours. Instead of a bride, he finds an infant here, a girl asleep, and knows–––washing up, both hands scooping cold water over his head, the short curls dripping like a dog’s pelt–––that she will marry a soldier, no matter what she thinks. In this town, they all marry soldiers.

SORTING PHOTOS

I grew up in the Nachkriegszeit.
Like seedlings defying
broken soil, we learned to observe
the happy occasions, our birthdays.

The past was treacherous –
our burned city, the rubble
dumped into moats and covered
for wider roads – lessons ravaged
by new routines.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Two Logs. The Spoon River Poetry Review. Listen to this poem read by Leonore.

Jazz Night at the Museum, Café Review.

OFF RADAR: “THE NEXT UNKNOWN," REVIEW BY DANA WILDE

Quick note on Leonore Hildebrandt’s poetry: There is nothing quick about it. Instead, there are what you might call intensities of diction that draw you into deep explorations of emotion. What kind of emotions? Well, the quick answer is: the emotions of everyday experience. But not the breezy, fleeting notice of a calm bay or sudden feelings on looking at old family photos. Instead, she drills into much deeper, more complicated places. Then she teases out the findings in compressed, unexpected language.

NOW AVAILABLE AT DEERBROOK EDITIONS

Check out the flip-thru preview and read a few poems. To order a copy from the publisher, go here.

THE SIGHTS FROM BELOW

Rulers have their praises set in stone––
monuments command the public square,
so the things we have always known
guide our vision. You and I meander
through the old-town, leaving traces
in garbage bins. We don’t decipher
the plaque’s inscription. Impatient
for another art––less enduring but wider,
not trapped by materiality––we delight
in a street market’s ambience: clues
for seeing into things. The sights
from below: airborne graffiti, tent-city blues,
   a clown’s uncanny grin. The statue descends,

SAMPLE POEMS

The Shelter, a collaboration with painter Heidi Daub. The publication by the Split Rock Review features Heidi’s paintings, which Leonore's writing responds to, along with a recording.

Thinking Potatoes, read on Maine Public Radio by poet laureate Stu Kestenbaum.

PRINT

“Passing,” Harpur Palate, Summer/Fall 2016.

“The Book’s Secret,” Sugar House Review 15, Spring/Summer 2017.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

ONLINE:                                                                                                                                                                                 

An Outlook, Split Rock Review.                                                                 

Verdurous Sentence, Cumberland River Review.                                                    

ON THE WAY

An afternoon breeze. The tidal water retreats––mudflats gleam and pucker, boulders hunker against a tumbled cloud-sky. And now the gulls come, claim the rocks with their unmelodious shrieks. Single-minded, they wait. Her own days are ambitious, her dreams troubled. And her chores––hanging laundry, splitting wood––don’t ever feel conclusive.

 

      POETRY IN MOTION

 

pachacuti

 

Pachacuti was the 15th century warrior-king who founded the Inca empire. (In Quechua, Pachakutiq means "he who overturns space and time.”) His statue near Machu Picchu is transformed, in turn, by the advent of pigeons. Now his strong arms bestow blessings to the people. Poetry may act like these birds.