Of Ash & Fire

It’s September 2020 and the world is six months into a cycle of uncertainty and daily dread—hours spent in sweatpants staring down a screen of exhaustive work deadlines or the all too familiar Hollywood Squares of Zoom, conducting business and relationships via a virtual water cooler. As we collectively navigate an unprecedented time in world history there are also moments of clarity, connection, and commonality while we find ingenious ways to hear and be heard, to lament or to love, remain tone deaf or tuned in. Each day offers a sock to the gut or moments of tender mercies. Within these poems—a time capsule of dissonance, drudgery, and delight—perhaps you’ll recognize yourself.

Cover art by Susan Solomon

Of Ash and Fire certainly lives up to its title, as it levels its gaze on a burning world, ravaged by plague, school shooters, and gaslighting politicians — yet this is work that can’t help but brim with life. The poems are shot through with insights both wry and tender, marked by headlong music, and buoyed by the playfulness and moxie of Hill’s irrepressible voice. In the end, this is a book interested in daily acts of resuscitation, where a roadkill raccoon is not something to mindlessly pass by, but instead we are invited to “rewind” back to a moment “when he was foraging — his tiny human-like hands clutching a trout” to bring home for his evening meal.

–Michael Bazzett, author of The Echo Chamber

 

Hill has the gift of taking life’s familiar moments, even our most mundane, and making their details matter…she breathes life into the parts of life we overlook in a way that is nothing short of brilliant. Her work flows effortlessly from playful to smart, all the way to the raw depths of the human experience…and back again. Her voice, her art, is like no other.

–Julie Harper, writer, founder of I Am Her

 

This intimate and sensitive collection reminded me why I feel that poetry is my religion. They will take hold of you and take residence inside your DNA and you’ll be made better for it. Buy a copy for your bedside, your best friend, and your past self. None of the copies will be anything but dogeared and beloved.

–Jennifer Pastiloff, best-selling author of On Being Human

 

Heartfelt and occasionally humorous, Of Ash and Fire is an accessible collection that conveys life in 2021 America like a late-night conversation with a person you’ve known your whole life—in my case, literally.

–Tom Pelissero, writer, sports reporter, and DJ Hill‘s son

 

In this delightful and thought-provoking sequel to her debut collection Homespun MerciesDJ Hill examines a world where, on one hand, we can have a book delivered to us seven hours and forty-five minutes after looking up a term and clicking a mouse; and, on the other hand, a world where we are learning the price we must pay for our seemingly unlimited ease: record heat waves, wildfires, hunger, violence, and loss. “Yield, travelers — / we’ve lost our guard rail, . . . / A modern-day circus-train // with us still on board,” she writes. Yet in her inimitable fashion, Hill makes plenty of space here for humor and wonder, whether trying to fall asleep while listing every George she can think of or waiting for a butterfly to land. It is love that abides. “That is, after all, what we really have — // who we are.”

–Katrina Vandenberg, author of The Alphabet Not Unlike the World and Atlas

Of Ash & Fire
poems by DJ Hill

July 2022
Finishing Line Press
46 pages, paper
ISBN: 978-1-64662-900-8

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