HilberryTAACoverLGFor Conrad and Jane Hilberry, poetry is all in the family. Both English teachers and writers (Jane teaches at Colorado College), the two have shared a lifelong love of the craft that Conrad passed on to Jane when she was still a teenager. The two have just released a collection of poems that share themes, topics, language and ideas organized into what could probably be best described as chapters.

What’s amazing about the collection is that none of it was consciously planned. Even their respective poems about a Vermeer painting were written without the other’s knowledge entirely. Only later did Jane notice the odd, yet resonant, connections between some of her poems and those of her father’s. The result is This Awkward Art: Poems by a Father and Daughter.

In the interview below, Jane and Conrad discuss the mysterious death of Jane’s sister and both read poems about her. Jane also discusses a recent incident in which the cover of one of her books caused her to be uninvited from a lecture at a local school. If you’d like to read the Gazette’s article on the incident, click HERE. If you’d like to see the book cover or but the book, click HERE.

Jane and Conrad Hilberry will read from their book tonight in the Gates Common Room on the 2nd Floor of Palmer Hall on the Colorado College Campus (full details HERE) and tomorrow night at Gallery 210 from 5 to 8 p.m.

(To download the interview, just right click on it. Or you can stream it her by clicking the play button)

Hilberry Interview

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(As ever, we anxiously await your amazing comments, suggestions and thoughts below or at thebigsoemthing@krcc.org. Thanks!)


5 Responses to When Poetry’s The Family Business

  1. awd says:

    nice find. good interview.

  2. Silencia is A Beautiful Name says:

    Good work Noel. The parent/artist child/artist dynamic voiced here resonated with me, for obvious reasons. Thanks.

  3. Nancy Wilsted says:

    What a great and inspiring relationship and interview!

  4. Judith Kay says:

    I’m so grateful for The Big Something. Otherwise I would not have known about the presentation by Jane and Conrad Hillberry. What an exquisite experience. They filled my heart. Thanks, Noel for letting us know!

  5. Charlotte Innes says:

    A lovely interview. Heartrending to hear more Jane’s sister; awful about the censorship issue; but great to know more about the book. Thank you!


UIG via Getty Images
October 20, 2016 | NPR · The CDC reports a sharp rise in infections of sexually transmitted diseases, and says lack of funding for state and local health clinics that help prevent spread of the diseases is a key factor.

October 20, 2016 | NPR · As scientists try to figure out what happened to the Schiaparelli lander, which may have crash-landed, a craft known as the Trace Gas Orbiter is orbiting the red planet in search of signs of life.

Getty Images
October 20, 2016 | NPR · Several U.S. cities have sugary drink taxes on the ballot. As efforts to reduce soda consumption gain traction around the world, critics say the industry is using the tobacco playbook to fight back.

Arts & Life

October 20, 2016 | FA · The 3rd season of the dystopian series created by Charlie Brooker is soon available on Netflix. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, it’s about the unintended consequences of the digital age.

October 20, 2016 | FA · TV critic David Bianculli reviews Fox’s remake of the classic ’70s musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and season 3 of Black Mirror on Netflix. He says both shows leave viewers fully entertained.

National Museum of American History
October 20, 2016 | NPR · The National Museum of American History says it will cost $300,000 to protect the aging shoes from The Wizard of Oz. A Kickstarter campaign launched three days ago has already raised nearly $200,000.


Mountain Stage
October 20, 2016 | NPR · Hear a live set recorded in the Americana band’s hometown of Harrisonburg, Va.

October 20, 2016 | KCRW · Known for its dreamy melodies, Scott Hansen’s ambient project plays a song from its new album, Epoch, live for KCRW.

October 20, 2016 | WBGO+JAZZ.org · Herbie Hancock and his latest band push the boundaries of jazz in a concert at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in New York City.

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac