g r a n t   h i e r

"A journey through the long history of inheritance in body and song... Contemplation is a hallmark and a pleasure in this book"


"A well-wrought psychic quest for a life rooted in the contemporary while still in ancient sympathy with the earth"


"This is a poetry that honors the mystery and beauty of daily life and sanctifies the ground on which we live"


"Ground-breaking, MAJOR publication...
Here is a poet of high standing, with
a superior control of language, a mastery of forms,
and a first-rate intellectual acuity.
This is a "Song of Myself" epic, written over the course of twenty years, and similarly ambitious...
It is for the ages, both past and future."


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A B O U T   T H E   P R I Z E :

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Americana: The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture is a nonprofit organization that awards the PRIZE AMERICANA for poetry and fiction.  From the PRIZE AMERICANA website:

"We believe that creative writers create our future popular culture, record our history as well as culture, and thus must be supported as they express the hopes, dreams, struggles, and challenges of our age.

We are dedicated to education, and believe in the power of American Studies scholarship and creative writing to enact positive social change. We exist to educate and thus support American Studies scholars and creative writers.

We are especially interested in publishing material that examines such issues as social justice, human rights, environmental awareness, the human condition, diversity, love, compassion, ethical and moral obligations. In other words, we are passionate about projects that empower and uplift humanity."

who have simultaneously immersed themselves in the landscape but also exercised some distancing, scholarly authority, become reliable docents on their tour of our ecosystem and, significantly, the ethnographic story. It's still a very personal story. In one of my favorite sections, the kid from Anaheim goes on a walkabout, through the neighborhood and also the stacked and scattered touchstone available in the period, late Sixties, exploring his own capacity for awareness and engagement with getting lost.  He discovers a storm drain, for us, now, an obvious conduit of precious and contentious water but also, of course, the subconscious.  Reverie and panic and dream ensue, as is possible when you're a special, blessed, sensitive kid. 


"a literary document which will take its place alongside other So Cal recollections, memoirs, reminiscences of the region, if perhaps done more artfully than the prose writers but with


Hier, like Whitman, works on a canvas that is both grand and pulsingly specific. As the milky way and the roots of civilization flow through the book's three sections,


Untended Garden allowed me to re-see the world that’s been in front of me my whole life. That’s the beauty of a collection like his.
It moves us beyond the everyday and the common.

the poet lights down constantly on images of the

                                 the same eye for accuracy and fairness, with documents and footnotes and cross-referencing; something, as they say, for everybody... favorably compared to writing by DJ Waldie, Mike Davis, Susan Suntree and others

A vision, a la Whitman or Blake, in a cement culvert!"

             Hier also shares with Jeffers the theme of (ideal) human connectedness to the natural world and its inheritance. Hier’s verse is more forgiving than Jeffers’, and more personal, much like contemporary Pattiann Rogers, or the poems of Richard Hugo.

In poeticizing cosmological processes Hier recalls fellow Californian poet Robinson Jeffers, particularly Jeffers’ posthumously published The Beginning and the End (Hier is a Jeffers’ scholar).



Untended Garden was nominated for both the
Kate Tufts Discovery Award and an American Book Award.
Excerpts (and several other poems) nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


moment: fruit falling from the vine, birds twittering, classical music playing two rooms down as the narrator bathes in his tub.  Fittingly, the central metaphor of "Untended Garden" comes down its title — the home garden, our attempt at order in the face of transience. Describing his narrator after a hard day with the spade, Hier writes, "Tonight I will lie with the ache / of today's futile gardening / still thrumming in my limbs." It may be futile, but we ache for it regardless. In our brief time, in our small place, that is how we live.


 It returns the extraordinary in our lives that we’ve become blind to.

... a big, generous, if careful, mini-epic,

                                 urgently relevant to poetry making, but also history making