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  • Writer's pictureKim Ports Parsons

Hilda Raz is still my beloved, inspiring teacher.

Reflections on List & Story, Poems by Hilda Raz (SFAPRESS 2020)

In the last poem of this masterful collection, "Letters from a Lost Language," Hilda Raz describes the poet as potter: "Again the poet brushes salt into glowing shapes/ Soon the fires will light." I felt shaped as I read these poems--my imagination fired and my sense of what is possible in my own writing expanded.

In "The Da Vinci Moon," the poet moves from room to room, literally and in her mind's spaces, creating both a physical and an intellectual/ emotional moment where mother, beloved, self and moon all combine in a delicate glaze. The last line is so perfect in its openness--"or something else I can't say"--like the element of the unknown when a freshly slipped pot goes into the kiln.

In "Transportation," we travel decades of her father's life, a list of all the ways he moved himself, things, and others, following a narrative of his life, until we ponder, what if? what if a transporter is his essence, and is reborn "in some ambitious boy/ in Agra"? There is a transformation from memory, to possibility, to epihany. The poet herself is a transporter, of words, of stories, of lists, of poems: "And here's a survivor carrying stories/ from one life to another, yours, readers."

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