A major theme in the poetry of Hilda Morley is grief—not only in poems that directly address the death of her husband, composer Stefan Wolpe, to Parkinson’s, but also in those where urban and natural images are a lens through which she explores feelings of sorrow and loss.
My appreciation of her oeuvre has grown over the years—the musical, halt-and-flow rhythm of her staggered lines and phrases; her incisive and subtle language; and at the heart of her writing, an immense absence carved out by Wolpe’s death.
Hilda Morley (1916-1998) taught at Black Mountain College, where she was friends with Olson and Creeley, as well as many artists and musicians. Her work deserves to be more widely known.
Below is a sample of two poems from To Hold in My Hand.
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