Threnody by Donna Hilbert


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Donna Hilbert is an American classic, one of those poets whose work will read for a long time to come. Threnody is a song of loss, but it also shows us how song conquers loss, or at least makes it bearable. Hilbert is not only in the tradition of Dickinson, Frost, and Stevens; she also carries on the older tradition of the Greek Anthology. Her taut epigrams make us feel the day-to-day reality of grief: “In the dishwasher, / nothing but spoons.” It is poems like these that Kenneth Burke called “equipment for living.” We need them.

– George Franklin, author of Noise of the World