I’ve mentioned Jeffrey S. Hillard here before. He was one of my professors when I returned to college at Mount St. Joseph University for an English degree in the early 2000s. I took two creative writing classes from him: Short story, and Poetry.
Jeff is a gifted poet. I think you’ll agree when you read it. It is accessible, and it sings. This year he received the honor of being named the Cincinnati Public Library Foundation’s Writer in Residence. You can read all about it here.
He is also an inspiring teacher.
This week Jeff published a blog post on the library site entitled, Anatomy of a Poem (1). If you have any interest in reading good poetry, understanding poetry, or writing poetry, this is a must-read. This is where Jeff really shines.
Congratulations to teacher, mentor, and friend Jeffrey S. Hillard of Cincinnati for writing a winning poem in the Cincinnati Public Library Garden 2012 Poetry Contest. The contest was held as part of the 2012 Poetry in the Garden series sponsored by the Friends of the Cincinnati Public Library.
A panel of published poets and literary professionals selected four winners from among the nearly 300 entries in this inaugural contest, co-sponsored by the Grailville Retreat & Program Center.
Jeffrey Hillard’s “After the Flood,” one of four winners In the Garden 2012 Poetry Contest, is a poem from Jeff’s unpublished manuscript called HAVANA RIFFS: Poems on Cuba, based on his three trips to the country in the 1990s.
The winning poets will read from their work on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Main Library’s (800 Vine St., (513) 369-6900) 2012 Poetry in the Garden series which is being held on the Tuesday evenings in April at 7:00 p.m.
It’s a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month.
After the Flood by Jeffrey Hillard
at La Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba
In a painting the curator wipes dry,
the wet, bedraggled condor, now a dark blue,
lifts its wing into the shape of a mountain.
The wing’s shine, gone. On her knees, the curator
pins the painting to a blanket in the courtyard
outside, pats dry each delicate inch of painting
thick with floodwater stain. She dries rooms
of floating colors
and clips wet books dangling
like tents from wires strung across the courtyard,
her knees reddened raw, the sun continuing to cook
the ground, mud wrapping around her ankles.
After twenty straight hours
of no sleep, one recurring dream now balances
her on a bank as she plunges both feet
into a swift
river to plug its flow.
Up and down, on and off
her knees, with days yet to scrub and dry,
she once even dozed on a charcoal drawing.
When she woke, the river had ebbed
before she could drown.
Jeff is the publisher and editor of RED!Webzine. He has also contributed numerous stories to the local Cincy Beat street newspaper. From 1989 to 2005, Jeff published or served as editor for five books of poetry. More recently Jeff has self-published a youth book for readers 9 to 14 years old, A Bunch in a Month – seeing Bible, imagining lives . Available on Smashwords, A Bunch in a Month is a devotional created to be read and re-read over and over, with flash-fiction stories connected to a Bible verse that inspire the reader to reflect on the story – and his or her day.