Poetry News

Hillary Gravendyk, 1979-2014

By Harriet Staff


We learned this week that poet Hillary Gravendyk died on Sunday, at the age of 35, after an extended illness. Rob Mclennan has written of her fondly at his blog:

For those who might not known of her or her work, her poetry collection, Harm (Omnidawn, 2012) [...], wrote around the body, and more specifically, the facts surrounding her double lung transplant in 2009. Through the publication of Harm, we began a small correspondence, and attempted to keep up with each other through emails and facebook, and I could see some of what she was dealing with, distracting her away from the work she so obviously fought to return to. We had discussed the possibilities of her engaging the ‘12 or 20 questions’ interview questions, but we never quite managed such. She generously provided a blurb for the back cover of one of my trade collections, and promised that she would get me some poems, once she was writing again. I enjoyed her work tremendously, and, despite not knowing her terribly well, enjoyed her remarkable energy and generosity, especially through her physical difficulties.

Mclennan also rounds up posts of other poets commemorating Hillary:

I knew she’d been struggling with her health for some time (and knew it had been quite bad a few months back), but didn’t realize it was as bad as it was. Since the news of her passing, others have begun posting small notes on Hillary and her work, such as this piece on The Eat and Run Mom, a video of her reading posted on Ron Silliman’s blog, a piece posted on the Pomona College website, two poems reprinted at The Mark on the Wall, and a piece by Brenda Hillman forthcoming at Omnidawn. My own little poem "in memoriam" appeared earlier in the week at Moss Trill.

Thanks for doing that, Rob. Read that entire piece here. Our thoughts go out to Hillary's friends, family, and community.

Originally Published: May 16th, 2014