New Poetry Collections

Poets have an online presence these days. Over time, a prodigious volume of poems has been posted in blogs. Blogs garner international readers and are not confined to ivory towers. The accessibility of poems posted on blogs is remarkable. Self-publishing is either a levelling up or a dumbing down. Both are true.

Blogs help facilitate the creative process in another way. A notable strategy of Internet poets is to write to prompts. A writing prompt gets posted and within a day or two, you’ll see poems written in response by poets from all over the map. I myself fall under this category of poets. Call it speed poeming. It is a moot point as to whether poems can be any good if they’re written fast. Such arguments are facetious as one judges a poem on its own merit and disregards all else. A poem can definitely be revisited and improved upon if necessary.

There is, of course, the real question of which poems make the cut. It is a question worth pondering. In any case, this is the context which I’m vested in and in which I am now writing and making a small announcement.

Red Wolf Editions is pleased to announce the release of two poetry collections in PDF format.

The first is a collection of 50 poems by Christopher Hileman. The poems arose precisely out of the context of which I have spoken—posted on the poet’s blog. I have made a selection and put them together as a poetry collection. They are meant to be representative of the poet’s mesmerizing work.

Having Taken Vows collection cover

Cover artwork: Carmen © by Catrin Welz-Stein

HAVING TAKEN VOWS
By Christopher Hileman

Christopher Hileman’s poems in this collection shine. But if you feel the blaze in the words, you feel the ashes too. These poems are courtly, filled with longing, passion, gratitude, despair. Startlingly accessible in their human range, they oft use the lover as mage, always part of a spiritual quest. The poems feel like soliloquys. You’ll feel the tenderness and poignancy, hope and truth, dream and reality, flight and fall, all tangled up, finely wrought. As if the poet had sat at an overnight loom as he formed a blanket for spiritual comfort. In all of this, amidst all of love’s yearning, God is never far.

“I live in squirming under
God’s wide ranging eyes
And all things would shift, and I
Love you for this dream.”
–“Having Taken Vows”

These poems are about finding truth in heart.

Download the collection here.
Having Taken Vows First Collection

The second is a collection of 118 poems written in collaboration between Christopher and myself. It was a series of poems which addressed the other. Most of it happened at a daily pace over April 2014. As poets, we were writing in fantasy, or in a fictionalized mode. Stepping out of it now, fevered pitch gone, it felt like the poems had fallen out of the sky. For being forged in an intense process that lasted for as long as it did, the collection has raw and fortuitous energy.

DUET collection cover

Cover artwork: The Moon Ship © by Catrin Welz-Stein

DUET
By Christopher Hileman and Irene Toh

Poetry duets work as a kind of dialog, not unlike the old haiku orations of the teahouse that were made up on the spot and traded back and forth by poets gathered there of an afternoon. These poems were written in collaboration. The first poem was written on 27 March 2014, inspired by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian plane, MH370, on 8 March 2014. It was carrying 239 passengers. The plane’s wreckage was never found. If there’s any connection at all to these poems, it is perhaps the mystery of life on our planet. We come up with stories. That’s all we can do. These poems mythologize, speak a kind of ineffable love whose essence is both permanence and fragility. In the process, they seem to weave a precious, breakable thread that runs through life and art. The last poem in this collection, dated 20 June 2014, may be viewed simply as part of a piece of tape that had been snipped off.

“So which secretion is yours,
from ripeness and sun
and which mine from sour
grapes all in a bunch?”
–Christopher Hileman, “I So Very Much Love You”

“What is heaven except in stooping
to sweet apples fallen? Sphere
an Edenic fruit: to know is heaven.”
–Irene Toh, “Heaven Is A Deacon”

Download the collection here.
Duet Collection

These two collections birthed on the Internet are a testimony of the times in which we live. They’re the hippie version of publishing: belief in community and free love in the pursuit of poetic vision. The reason we do this is of the highest order. I leave you with a quote by Walt Whitman:

[and that the world is not joke,
Nor any part of it a sham].

–Walt Whitman, “I Am The Poet”

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