Poetry. PERCEIVED DISTANCE FROM IMPACT forgot to charge its phone, got lost, and is almost happy about it. These poems are catalogues, unorganized purses, they are late to the party and forgot to RSVP. They are also unquiet, unapologetic, and unafraid to explore passionately, expose their hearts nakedly, and fight back fervently. Hilliard's speakers cling to the coast, film, computer science, queerness, and race—all in an attempt to stitch together a self in a world uninterested in the process.
Kamden Hilliard is a ferocious and savvy, edgy and on-edge, whip-smart and hold-no-prisoners new voice in contemporary poetry. Through erasure, remixing, imagining, and laughing, the poems in this vivid new collection ask how close a person can go to pain. Once there, can you return?
"The poems in Kamden Hilliard's PERCEIVED DISTANCE FROM IMPACT are doing the most! Fragmented & fractured & fabulous & technocratic—they grip you by your collar scruff & drag you in. This poet's scope is transnational & transhistoric & transcendent. The poems are like a globe turning wetly in the mouth. The deft incorporation & pastiche of various registers makes the reading experience of this book a panoply of 'godDAMN' & 'More Please.' Read this now!"—sam sax
"Kamden Hilliard spares nothing. Whip-smart and poly-vocal, these poems are hyper-attuned to and deeply uncomfortable with their place against a 'sunset pickled with smog,' and their interrogation of this position—'queer' / 'Black' / 'millennial' / 'American' / 'poet' / 'student' / 'son'—takes place at a level rarely seen by poets several times their age. That prodigy thing aside, Hilliard's rapid-fire code-switching between encyclopedically varied high/low references (cinematic, scholarly, familial) is undeniably brutal but buoyed by a smirk at the absurdity of 'all these aberrations,' which keeps the ride fun. At the crossroads of globalization and depersonalization, these poems coast glibly through Hong Kong, Tinder, D.W. Griffith films, Hawai'i, the barbershop, Chicago, not-being-in-Chitown. All the while, even while in places as horrifying as the Rainforest Cafe, these poems are 'poppin' bottles' and seeking 'another way towards love.'—Nina Puro
"Kamden Hilliard's PERCEIVED DISTANCE FROM IMPACT immerses and dispositions its readers at the same time. Their exciting travel poetics examines the tension between the Asian and other spaces and their black queer Amerikkkan self reminds us that the world, like the poet's own description of their body, constantly overwhelms us with 'disruption and oddity.' Wherever the speaker is, they are rooted and dislocated, determined and confused. The various registers and discourses in this 'global manuscript' glues us like a montage sequence, and the boldness and strangeness stick and stay. '[Travel] is a needy needy boy,' so is Hilliard in their first uncompromising attempt to emerge with their contemplation on the opacity of cities."—Nicholas Wong
Kamden Hilliard reads for Gigantic Sequins, edits Jellyfish Magazine, and goes by Kam. They got love from The NFAA, The Ucross Foundation, VSC, Lambda Literary, and Callaloo. The author of two chapbooks, DISTRESS TOLERANCE (Magic Helicopter Press, 2016) and PERCEIVED DISTANCE FROM IMPACT (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), Kam stays busy. Find their poems and essays in The Black Warrior Review, West Branch, Muzzle Magazine, The Hawaii Review, and other sunspots.
Author City: KAAAWA, HI USA