Grant Hier is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Anaheim, poetry editor for Chiron Review, and a full Professor at Laguna College of Art and Design. His book Untended Garden was awarded the 2015 Prize Americana and nominated for both an American Book Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Other books include The Difference Between, Similitude, and California Continuum (co-written with John Brantingham). Grant's poetry has won both the Nancy Dew Taylor Prize and the Kick Prize, and been published in literary journals internationally. His poetry is anthologized in such books as Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (Heyday, 2017), Only Light Can Do That (Rattling Wall/PEN Center USA, 2016), Monster Verse - Human and Inhuman Poems (Knopf/Everyman, 2015), and the Picture Show Press Anthology of Poetry (2020). His fiction appears in LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers (Red Hen Press, 2016) and Flash Fiction Journal - Two. His essays and reviews have been widely published as well, including in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Jeffers Studies, Explorations in English Studies, Teaching Composition with Literature, and the book John Fante: A Critical Gathering. Grant recently penned the liner notes to the new Los Lobos album, Llego Navidad, and he wrote and produced the double CD JOYRIDE: Friends Take the Wheel (entered for two Grammys). As a voice actor, Grant contributed the part of Stanley Hohner for the audiobook version of the New York Times bestseller, Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel (Penguin/Random House, 2017) by George Saunders. That recording won the 2018 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year.

The Difference Between the Song Within the Bird and What is Heard

Whatever the thrush was thinking before
she opened her throat to sing. What was felt
in her drumming breast during flight.
The echoes that pulsed
through her hollow bones
at rest. (These are what
I seek to know.)

The long stare and the clever words before
we open up. Notes shared to bring wellness
and strength for the coming test of
night. Who knows what else
might follow us home.
The rest we seek. (What
we cease to know.)

Published in The Difference Between (Pelekinesis 2018)

End-of-the-Month Ritual

The crying child's chin wobbled
dragging the flow of morning back
like the bad wheel on the shopping cart-
and both helped sustain the annoyance
of the mother there, pushing, struggling
to cope with not enough in her purse
to pay for all she needed that day,
and with no hope of earning more cash
any time soon. Knowing this, yet still
filling the cart with everything on the list
anyway-a kind of acting that allowed
them to live in a different world, if only
for a moment, where it all was okay-
like the made up phone conversations
of her child, half-gibberish, and with
no one on the other end. At the checkout,
then, the end of the play: the painful
denouement, unloading of items back
off the belt and out of bags already full.
More shaking (and in her now as well),
plus a browful pout that would last
the entire bus ride home, despite her
hand patting her leg: There there. I know.

Published in Similitude (Pelekinesis 2018)

Unforeseen Consequences

The jagged line
of the crack in the pot,
once repaired, became
the strongest spot.

The hungry one
got hungrier, but
by knowing that pain,
became more giving.

Where the bag was torn
the seeds escaped. Now
flowers line the path
where the poor man walked.

Published in Similitude (Pelekinesis 2018)


Grant Hier



© 2020 Grant Hier


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