Exuberant dogs, deer splintering a fence, bears that slip in through the door of dreams: in Hilberry’s poems, the animals surely enter, and it is this book’s dream-found responsibility to see further, or rather, see better, to leave the door open to strange visits and visitations, in daylight, in the looked-over corners of our daily lives.
In these expertly crafted poems, Hilberry does not shy away from the difficult–she looks into loneliness, a friend’s suicide, the death of a parent. But the alchemy of poetry is that it transforms darkness into song. As experience arises in all its wild and ungovernable forms, the book ultimately offers an invitation: “You could be part of this.”
“In these earth-rich, lush and vibrant poems, Hilberry, by way of her speakers, wrestles with inheritance, with prudence, with fear and desire. These are songs of a long skirmish, songs of a hard-won innocence steeped in experience. The vision within is both wise and generous.”—Kate Northrop
“In ‘Possibly, this time,’ Jane Hilberry makes a startling and haunting poem out of the passage of a tick through people’s lives and deaths. Is this possible, you ask? Oh, yes, this and much more. ‘All else, stripped back, came down to love,’ she writes in another poem. Hilberry’s book, Still the Animals Enter, is the record of this stripping down: it’s glory and its purpose, these poems.”—Jim Moore
“The poems in Still the Animals Enter evoke an embodiment both tangential and deep. They travel like a bead on a string between a charged, sublime solitude and a nuanced connection with the natural world and the ‘smooth stone’ of the lover’s body. Hilberry has given us something necessary and rare, an adult perspective that does not lose itself in nostalgia or swerve toward loneliness but finds its way to a language of profound erotic vitality. This collection is located at a powerful edge where memory and loss are in contact with a forward-looking present tense, where longing gives way to a deep quiet ‘among the breathing others,’ and where the animals find their way through every barrier to enter the poem–still, and in stillness.”—Diane Seuss