Poetry News

Entire Worlds Hidden in Hailey Higdon's [PACKING]

By Harriet Staff


Rob Mclennan's notes on poetry for mid-July include writing on Hailey Higdon's recent chapbook, [PACKING] (Bloof Books 2012), which we also admire:

...From publishing collective Bloof Books comes Hailey Higdon’s [PACKING], a small chapbook produced in a numbered edition of one hundred copies.

Any Day Bill

any day now
remind me
any day now Bill
I’m gonna get me a house
a good mortgage
when the money comes in
you and me Bill

Even before I saw her previous chapbook, How to Grow Almost Everything (Agnes Fox, 2011) [see my review of such here], I’ve been intrigued by the writing of American poet Hailey Higdon, who is, as she claims, “affiliated with many states and many homes.” Higdon’s poems almost have the quality of what Andrew Suknaski called “loping, coyote lines,” composing long, conversational lines that extend out against and over the horizon. Through her poems, Higdon composes sweeping poems that set entire scenes and scenarios, conversationally writing observations and monologues in an intriguing exploration of voice. Unlike, say, Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell’s explorations into voice through his “Impossible Books” project, Higdon’s are closer to considerations of theatre, writing out not a singular voice of a moment, but the voice of an entire story, far broader and deeper than her poems specifically say, but certainly suggest. Consider two lines of the four-page poem, “When,” that read:

Do you know that since you visited I haven’t flushed my toilet?

It’s the little things that add up.

There are entire worlds hidden and buried deep within the poems of Hailey Higdon.

Why Not Minot

if given a place to stay
some chips some discipline
the discipline of a situation
it and how it is unfurling in a regulated way
what you’re supposed to do and when
does not not follow
like a fallen hat, dead soldier, one of the socks
older doesn’t provide any new chances to kick a habit easier
bad habits follow in the idea that we enjoy pain, enjoy suffering, I seek it
try to explain why
how this enjoyment makes me a more motivated person or why
it takes three women
to warm the car and one ice-block to freeze the bed,
one oven to cook it
let’s split it, the difference I mean,
that’s the way it crumbles
five nickels, a dime, thirty-five cents
and the common denominator thick as a brick, expected
believing that people are good
cookie-wise, I mean
Originally Published: July 17th, 2013