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Getting 2 Know Robert Hilles

Robert Hilles author photoWhat is your favourite thing about writing and why?

I love writing that first draft when suddenly a story or poem appears out of nowhere almost blindsiding me. While I am writing (usually at the computer) I tune out to everything else. When I finish a first draft, I feel a joy that is hard to put to words but strangely gives me the urge to put on music. For years I have always enjoyed that that most about writing, but in recent years I have discovered an even greater pleasure: the continuous revision of a piece. I used to only subtract from what I got down in a draft, but now I add and subtract many times. Just as a sketch slowly transforms into a richer painting, so too a piece of writing only takes proper shape with the careful weaving together of more complex meanings.

What are books for?

This is a question I think we are all grappling with right now in this significant period of transition. The death of the book has been forecast many times and yet it is still with us. What books are for is to enlarge our experiences in powerful and necessary ways. They are our doorways into other minds.

Without books and the written art they contain our understanding of each other and ourselves would be greatly diminished. The stories and novels of Charles Dickens and the novels of Jane Austen keenly shape my perception of 19th century Britain. Without them I would have only the factual data, which doesn’t accurately capture the true feelings of what it meant to be alive then.

Moving images and sound do represent our time well but without the written word to fill in the many blanks it is like documentary footage with the sound turned off, The essential glue that binds us and forms our greater humanity is missing. I firmly believe that love stories and all their nuanced parts can only be properly told in written form. So for me a book fills out our shared experiences in ways nothing else does.

Without books we are living our lives with the sound turned off.

Listen to an audio version of  Robert’s poem Beloved,” read by Bob Chelmick of CKUA radio.

Read a poem about Memories by Robert Hilles

Read Robert’s poem 72 Virgins

Read more about Robert Hilles and his collection of poetry Higher Ground, including a sample love poem.

Check here to see if you were randomly chosen to receive Higher Groundby Robert Hilles

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