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A Theory of Everything (Autumn House Poetry) Paperback – January 26, 2009
“A Theory of Everything is deeply original, magical, and WEIRD in a good way, as we used to say back in grade school. Some kinds of “weird” were desirable since they suggested potent originality, quirky insight, and startling but necessary twists of humor ― as in, when is the last time YOU considered a flea’s memories or regrets? Mary Crockett Hill has made a significant, fabulously welcome contribution to the world of theories in general, and elegant poetry you will want to keep close by ― for the days when your own elements of existence don’t fit neatly into compartments or jingle sweet harmonies in your ear. Here’s a place where darkness lives comfortably, studded with breathtaking light. Like a mesmerizing sky.” (Naomi Shihab Nye)
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It's interesting see how the poems are grouped--Everything Before Us, Too Much Everything, Everything Lost, etc--and to see the sections' corresponding introductions, from a passage from "The Diary of Anne Frank" to "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. These introductions almost act as found poems and complement the poems they precede. Individually, the poems have enough depth and substance that they could leave us pondering for a while, but including them in a collection (within a collection) brings about another level of meaning. Readers can get the feeling that Hill is trying to tell them something, though it may take a couple tries to understand. It's enough to spur me to pick this up in the future and re-read everything so I can understand it better.
I'm not sure how you feel about gushing, but A Theory of Everything is the best book of poetry I have ever read. The way the editor showcases Mary's work is amazing. I have never read anything quite so effectively presented. Each poem flows into the next so magically. Every time I pick up the book, I read again completely. I cannot put it down.