Variation on Testimony
Variation on Testimony is Lisa Hiton's debut chapbook. These poems explore gender and sexuality in varied landscapes and poetic modes as the speakers encounter secrecy and violence across many intersections of America's land and consciousness.
Poets on Growth
Poets on Growth is an anthology of reflective essays and poems by emerging and established contemporary poets. These essays seek to illuminate and document how poets enter and grow into their writerly selves on the page and in the literary communities.
Praise for Variation on Testimony
As soon as we witness the women standing—grieving—on the bridge in Lisa Hiton’s arresting chapbook Variation on Testimony, we know the women exist in peril: it is here on the bridge, suffering from the aftermath of an assault, "where I become violent," Hiton tells us, "when I could have been lovely." Variation renders both the actors and recipients of violence in all sizes, from the “helicopters grinding their teeth” after the mass attacks in Boston and Sandy Hook to the singular “hollow, spongy” sound a man’s arm makes as it smashes a woman’s shoulder in Chicago—and in her deft modulation, Hiton refuses us any easy break from her work bearing witness. She conjures a world that holds queer women in its beautiful particularity while simultaneously facing unceasing cruelty: "I want to make a mythology out of the image in the window," Hiton writes, "you picking tomatoes. / It always rains on the lover before she dies." These incisive, imagistic poems bring the violence that some might only ever see as shadow forever into the light. We need them more than ever.
Rachel Mennies, author of The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards
"Clear-eyed, Lisa Hiton's poems of witness are sobering and fiercely necessary. They explore the violence--internalized and externalized, social and political--queer women endure and survive. These poems think through lyric, the lushness of an inner life never extricated from our contemporary moment. Still there is room for lusciousness here. Like Golden Age Dutch paintings, Hiton has an eye for light and food and love. I'm thankful for these unflinching poems.
Derrick Austin, author of Trouble the Water
Confident and vivid, Variation on Testimony swings effortlessly between the abstract and the deeply personal. Every image seems newly constructed even when it's referencing the oldest tropes.
Stephanie Pushaw, from the judge's citation
Throughout the collection, Hiton strikes an impressive balance between tenderness and threat, between the fragmented image and fully realized scene, between what is said and what is palpably unsaid.
Caylin Capra-Thomas, from the judge's citation