Rick Hilles has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, a Camargo Fellowship, and, most recently, a 2013 Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry from the Tennessee Arts Commission. He is the author of Brother Salvage, winner of the 2005 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and A Map of the Lost World (2012), and his poems have been published widely in literary magazines. He lives in Nashville and teaches poetry at Vanderbilt University.
From “A Map of the Lost World”
I never wanted to make of you some trick
Of mirrored light, or lie of the imagination.
I never wanted this flurry of shooting stars
To obscure your final place in the night sky.
Is this why you kept the story to yourself?
Because there was no gift in it for us?
Your silence, now absolute, is not so different
From the pauses that follow certain music.
Or what sometimes comes before the words.
That some real part of you, still vital, waiting
To be found on the map of the lost world
Might return, if I went far enough, is the stuff
Of poetry. The kind that says, Be vigilant.
We must love one another while there is time.
From A Map of the Lost World by Rick Hilles. Copyright © 2012 by Rick Hilles. Reprinted with permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved. Hilles will read from his work on December 19, 2013, at 7 p.m. at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville. The event is free and open to the public.