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Poet William Huhn

"William Huhn, in a wonderfully supple and natural idiom, turns out to be the Ovid of our present milieu."

                                —Donald Revell

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"...exceptionally brilliant, and even virtuosic prose..."

                                —Robert Boyer

New Release

Bachelor Holiday        Poems

By William Huhn

BlazeVOX Books

"This is a journey through an acquisitive, though unhurried, mind, one within which any reader would be lucky to spend time."

Available July 2024

Bachelor Holiday by William Huhn Cover (Renoir, The Bay of Naples)
Illustration for William Huhn's Poem "The Owl"

  Expedition       
 

The friends I lost would not
have made it to the top anyway,


scattered on the mountainside
in night, like uncharted stars.

 

Though they'd sworn loyalty, at
the first remembrance of their

 

padded lives even the truest
of them became liabilities.

 

Well below where the air grows thin,
and the insanity thick as the loss

 

of breath, their spirits broken,
a voice silent as the vulture's

 

seemed to soothe them to death.
They returned to the safety in

 

numberless faces, eyes already
sinking like grave markers.

 

I saw the Lamb of God in the shadow
of the scavenger's wing they fled,

 

and I led my expedition of one far
above those who wouldn't risk perishing

 

in the blinding snows at the summit,
where I kissed the place of rebirth.

(Versedaily 9.17.17) 

                        ζ

                      

Poetry, to me, is a kind of sport, or play—play that reflects life, which is itself often compared, proverbially, to a game. Athletics—running, soccer, tennis, yoga, swimming, and the stretch that precedes them all, have always been key not just to my staying fit, but also for health of mind. Yet as with poetry, behind the outward forms and flow, beneath the passion, rules, and play of every serious sport lies all the darkness of human striving, betrayal, injury, and even death, right alongside the triumph, joy, and instinctive possibilities. It’s no surprise that the climax of arguably the greatest play and poetry ever written in English, Hamlet itself, unfolds within the context of a fencing match.


I’m grateful my poems found their way into the Carolina Quarterly, Talking River Review, 34th Parallel, Verse Daily, and many another journal. A series of historical “jewel poems,” which seemed to invent there own forms and language, provide the backbone for my first full-length collection, Bachelor Holiday, a good portion of which I wrote while bluegrass fiddling my way through Europe one year. The travels themselves provided the grist for a series of narrative essays appearing in Pembroke, RosebudAmerican Literary Review, Fugue, etc. Among other honors, eight of these narratives were listed as a "Notable Essay" in The Best American Essays series (most recently in 2022). Two received Pushcart nominations. I’ve also been fortunate to have my prose work in three full-length books, including Stories of Music, the 2017 winner of an International Book Award by American Book Fest; and Game (2023), an anthology of Sport Literate magazine's best prose works over 25 years, in which my essay “The Triple Crown” was reprinted. Stories of Music also included an mp3 recording of my fiddle playing.

My next project, nearing completion, promises to be a revolutionary biography of Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Henrietta Seiberling, my late grandmother, whose leading role in the founding of AA has been sorely underestimated.


Thank you for reading. I know you’ll enjoy Bachelor Holiday.

 

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