Jane Hilberry has written two previous books of poetry, including Body Painting, which won the Colorado Book Award and got Hilberry banned from speaking at a Colorado Springs high school. She has written a book of biography/art criticism titled The Erotic Art of Edgar Britton; edited The Burden of the Beholder: Dave Armstrong and the Art of Collage; and co-authored a little volume on email titled Get Smart: How Email Can Make or Break Your Career, and Your Organization. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Women’s Review of Books, Denver Quarterly and many other journals. She was one of the first editors of the Indiana Review. In addition to teaching Creative Writing, Creativity, and Literature at Colorado College, Hilberry has also facilitated arts-based leadership development programs at The Banff Centre in Canada.
Still the Animals Enter
Publication Date: April 11, 2016
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
Publication Date: August 1, 2005
In Hilberry’s poems, the body is a canvas on which a whole range of experiences are painted: grief at the loss of a sister, the adolescent search for God, sexual passion, and ordinary pleasures such as swaying in a hammock, touching the astonishing warmth of a lover’s body, or watching a surfer rise “on the joy of a wave.” Crazy Jane, an alter-ego figure, makes appearances throughout the book, seducing a bear, sleeping in a priest’s bed, and generally transgressing social norms. Ultimately, the book celebrates the poet’s own unconventional choices—to love both men and women, not to have children, to abandon the attempt to find God in church. She ends up loving the impermanent world and the mortal body, wanting only to touch “what’s returning to earth.”
“If this is the book of the body, its lineaments are those of not only erotic but spiritual desire. Here friends and lovers, mothers and children, intermingle as in the morning light and shadow of a forgotten room, and the source of that light is Hilberry’s very distinctive lyric voice, constantly surprising us with its subdued wit and deep understanding of what it means to be human.”—B. H. Fairchild
“Mystical, sensuous, and anguished anthems are sung here. Celebrations of being that are both fierce and tender, wry and vulnerable by turns. If Whitman had settled down enough to love a few men and women intensely and over time, he might have recorded those experiences in poems as rich as these, and been as pleased with them as Hilberry’s readers will with these.”—Gregory Orr