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Prophetic Outlook

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Crooks run the whole world, and the Dow just fell.
Crap rules the airwaves. All your best plans stall.
The air is dirty, and you don’t feel well.
Your wife won’t listen. Friends no longer call.
Sad songs from youth no longer cast a spell.
Cancer research has run into a wall.
Some inflated hack just won the Nobel.
You witness clear signs of decline and fall.
The neighbors are cold, and your house won’t sell.
Your cat has bad teeth. Your paychecks feel small.
Maybe you’re really sick. It’s hard to tell.
Up ahead, traffic has slowed to a crawl.
The world didn’t just start going to hell.
You just noticed for the first time, that’s all.


Ernest Hilbert, “Prophetic Outlook” from Sixty Sonnets. Copyright © 2009 by Ernest Hilbert. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.
Source: Sixty Sonnets (Red Hen Press, 2009)
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Prophetic Outlook

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  • Born in Philadelphia and raised in southern New Jersey, poet, critic, and editor Ernest Hilbert received a BA from Rutgers University and a PhD in English literature from St. Catherine’s College of Oxford University, where he studied with James Fenton and Jon Stallworthy.
     
    In his debut collection, Sixty Sonnets (2009), Hilbert establishes a variation on the sonnet form, employing an intricate rhyme scheme and varied line length. A skillful practitioner of form and nuance, Hilbert shifts between delicately sonic moments and humorous narrative sequences. As poet and critic Adam Kirsch noted of the poems in Sixty Sonnets, “In these sonnets, whose dark harmonies and omnivorous intellect remind the reader of Robert Lowell’s, Hilbert is alternately fugitive and connoisseur, hard drinker and high thinker.” Hilbert’s second collection, All of You on the Good Earth (2013), returns to his idiosyncratic, highly inventive sonnet form.
     
    Hilbert founded the Oxford Quarterly and...

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