An Interview With Hilary King

Posted in: Books, News

Hilary King is the author of Stitched on Me, a collection of poetry forthcoming and now available for pre-order! As usual, we interviewed her so you could get to know her a little!

How long did it take you to write Stitched on Me?

Many of these poems were written in the last five to seven years, a few years after I turned fifty and the glitter settled on that milestone. I turned fifty right after I moved with my family across the country to a place where we knew no one. It was a very lonely time, and turning fifty was not the joyous occasion I had imagined. Once I found my bearings (a poetry community, a good job, etc.) being in my fifties started to feel better, then good, then great, something I hope these poems show.

Pulling this collection together, I noticed among the poems I had been writing, a theme of dressing, wearing, assembling a self. After some failed attempts to gather, I leaned into that. Sometimes you have to keep trying things on.

What’s a favorite poem from the collection?

One favorite is “The Year I Wore Heels” because I actually did try wearing heels for a while. It gave me confidence and a new view of things, but I was working in a garden at that time and it wasn’t very practical. “What Women Wear for Resurrection” explores how fulfilling tradition and ritual can cost women, and quitting it can liberate them, something I’m very interested in. And anytime a talking dog appears, as one does in “Come See the Moon,” it’s fun to write.

What’s your writing routine look like?

I wake up very early, make instant coffee, and drink it staring out the window, the dog beside me, a cat nearby. I read some poems, then I write something down. Anything, everything, what I see, what I dreamed, back to what I see. An idea flies by and I grab it by its feathers. Drink more coffee. Get to know the idea, dress it up a bit, take the dressing off. When my household awakes and this hour, which is less than an hour, is over, I tuck the draft away to come back to later. This is my favorite part of the day, and I seem to wake up earlier and earlier to get to it.

Hilary’s Writing View

Who are your favorite poets?

The classics: Clifton, Dove, Dickinson, Sexton, Li-Young Li. Also, Seamus Heany, Ted Kooser, Bob Hicok, Frank O’Hara, Tony Hoagland, Laura Kassiche, Naomi Shihab Nye. Too many to name!

What are you reading right now?

For current and upcoming writing projects, I’m reading books on the history of roses and biographies of Plath. I always have poetry books coming in or going back to the library. From the library, I recently read a collected works of Gwendolyn Brook and a Margaret Atwood volume. A new book I’m enjoying is Lady Wing Shot by Sara Moore Wagner, a book of poems about Annie Oakley.

What’s your favorite non-writing activity?

I love to hike, by which I mean, go for a walk in nature. I love thrifting, hoarding ribbon, and learning to tap dance, a long-held dream which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. Ask me about the tap dancer’s national anthem, the shim sham, but please give me a few more decades to perfect it.


You can pre-order Hilary’s new collection, Stitched on Me, here!

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