Rick Hilles’ new poetry collection, A Map of the Lost World, was recently published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The collection, Hilles’ second, has been praised by critic Harold Bloom. “I emerge from this book somber yet fortified because like Kafka, it reminds us of a kind of indestructibility of the human spirit,” Bloom writes, and he compares Hilles’ poetry favorably with the work of other important poets of Hilles’ generation.
Hilles says that this new book feels connected with his first collection, Brother Salvage (winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize) because they share a certain set of obsessions: “memory, what is at risk of getting lost.”
“A Map of the Lost World is an important book, combining history with lyric gravity. Rick Hilles writes of modern life in language that is beautiful and magical, having an intensity that compels as it startles. In poems of World War II (“A Map of The Lost World” and “The Red Scarf & The Black Briefcase”), we read of an American’s search for self as well as for the fate of Auschwitz prisoners. By turns Hilles thrills, excites, intrigues, and terrifies, as he finds in the past insights into the world around him and presents a landscape ‘full of secrets only some of them benign.’” —Grace Schulman
“Like John Keats, who is in many ways the presiding spirit of this exquisitely true and beautiful gathering of poems, Rick Hilles is a poet with genuine authority, licensed to lead us to the lost world where great poets, dear friends and righteous survivors pay tribute to what it means to be human, to love and bear witness even beyond death. This is a truly wonderful book.” —Lorna Goodison