Recently, Pioneer Press Book Review Editor Mary Ann Grossman sat down with KateLynn Hibbard to discuss Simples, the Howling Bird Press 2018 Poetry Prize winner.
“I want people who think they don’t like poetry to read this book and maybe change their minds,” Hibbard tells Grossmann. “It seemed like a good hybrid of forms, incorporating history and poetry. There is a lot more historical fiction than historical poetry. I think of history in a way that is probably not typical. I deal with the emotional connection to it first of all.”
Grossman writes, “The collection includes poems about the rules single-women teachers had to follow (You must wear at least two petticoats), a battered wife who prays her husband will not come home drunk again, a mother writing to her sister listing five children who died in five years and how the locusts left nothing to eat, and an angry woman who makes money selling eggs, which she walks five miles to sell, but only her husband’s name is on the legal documents.”
“There are happy poems in the collection, too,” Grossman adds, “about making wild rose elixir, and the satisfaction of a woman who made curtains for her home. . . . Several of Hibbard’s poems are about naming flora and fauna.”
Read the full interview to learn more about Hibbard’s research and writing process: