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“'To say of two things that they are identical is nonsense,' Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, adding: 'and to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing at all.' In this book of seamless discrepancies H. L. Hix says a great deal, and none of it nonsensical. The conjunctions of SAY IT INTO MY MOUTH offer a poetics of the dialogue in which exchange and equivalence are conducted as philosophical propositions. From translation to philosophy, poetry to drama, the pre-Socratic to the post-Internet, Hix helps us see the two in networks.”
“'It matters what we quote and how we quote it.' What makes H. L. Hix’s book unique is that its set of very personal, indeed autobiographical poems turn out, paradoxically enough, to be composed almost entirely of quoted text. How does a poet perform this feat? Hix has 'selected and arranged all the material, but invented none of it.' The key is selection: in Duchamp’s words about his famous urinal, 'he chose it.' Whether working with corresponding (or are they antithetical?) citations from Wittgenstein and Leslie Scalapino, or with Heracleitus vis-à-vis a bevy of contemporary poets and philosophers, Hix Makes It New by asking questions, not 'of one’s own,' but 'as one’s own.' Every aphorism or question provokes a further question or response, often familiar on its own, but transformed by its context. The resulting lyric conceptualism or conceptualist lyric — take your pick! — is as thought-provoking as it original and charming.”
“I am fascinated by this book. It reminds me of poetic dialogue as 'grooming,' like chimpanzees taking care of each other, talking with gestures to establish communal bonds: primitive humans speaking the poetic word not discursively but simply opening up questions — leaving the enigma intact. In phenomenological hermeneutics, where language is not arbitrary but is understood as always speaking about something other, we speculate that the first human utterances were not discursive but poetic. The way H. L. Hix has assembled the citations and 'responses' reminds me of Vico’s suggestion, in his New Science, that since we are no longer 'primitive,' in our historical 'ricorso' we must engage reason and yet aim for the poetic utterance — this being perhaps the only way forward. SAY IT INTO MY MOUTH may be doing just that!”
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H. L. Hix's other recent doings include a novel, The Death of H. L. Hix (Serving House Books, 2021); an edition and translation of THE GOSPEL (Broadstone Books, 2020) that merges canonical with noncanonical sources in a single narrative, and refers to God and Jesus without assigning them gender; a poetry collection, Bored In Arcane Cursive Under Lodgepole Bark (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023); an edition, with Julie Kane, of selected poems by contemporary Lithuanian poet Tautvyda Marcinkevičiūtė, called Terribly In Love (Lost Horse Press, 2018); an essay collection, Demonstrategy (Etruscan Press, 2019); and an anthology of "poets and poetries, talking back," Counterclaims (Dalkey Archive Press, 2020). His book Constellation (Cloudbank Books, 2023) was awarded the 2023 Vern Rutsala Prize. He professes philosophy and creative writing at a university in "one of those square states."