What Happens


What Happens


Hilda Raz

138 pages


April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

April 2021


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

June 2009


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In What Happens these musically wrought and emotionally candid poems explore the pleasure and pain of family relationships, the complicated joy of being a woman, and the unconventional beauty of the Great Plains. Readers will meet Raz’s son, Aaron, and find themselves drawn to fundamental questions about identity and belonging.

Author Bio

Hilda Raz is a former editor of Prairie Schooner and is the founding director of the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes. She was named the first Luschei Professor and Editor in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Raz is editor of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series at the University of New Mexico Press and poetry editor for ABQ (in)Print and Bosque Press. She is the author or editor of fourteen books, including her most recent book, Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986–2020, as well as All Odd and Splendid, Divine Honors, Trans, and What Becomes You (with Aaron Raz Link), all available from the University of Nebraska Press.


“Hilda Raz has an appetite for the pleasures of touch, sight, love; an openness to the wounds of life and the ‘common face’ of death; a capacity for language that captures the weather and the details of a place and time, a day, the changes of a lifetime. The poetry of What Happens mirrors ‘our great and perfect / need,’ along with myths, riddles, and ‘everything possible blooming.’”

“Hilda Raz’s poetic diction is always immediate and direct, engaging the reader. She achieves special intensity in her depiction of the human body, its vulnerability, and its capacity for pleasure (see ‘Friend in a Distant City’ and ‘Pain’). Here is a poet at the height of her formidable powers to move and inspire.”—Robert Pack, author of Still Here, Still Now

“Underneath ‘ordinary stars and a late moon,’ extraordinary things happen to the people in Hilda Raz’s poems. Love transforms, bodies transform, health transforms, and looked at freshly, the things we thought we knew burst into strangeness. There is nothing like Raz’s charged, smart, profound, moving poems, so rich in both intellect and heart, so open and wise, provoked by the question ‘how can we live properly?’”—Floyd Skloot, author of The Wink of the Zenith

“A moving, still fresh, collection of poetry.”—Linda Read Deeds, Nebraska Life

“These are emotionally taut poems, created by the poet to share herself or, perhaps, her many selves with the world at her feet.”—Charles Stephen, Lincoln Journal Star

Table of Contents

Part One
     That’s Something
     Jan’s Orchard
     What Happens
     The Sandhills, Early Winter
     November Night Driving
     Sarah’s Wing
     My Daughter Home from College Tells Me about the Gods
     April Teaching, Outstate
     Photograph of a Child Sleeping

Part Two
     What Happened This Summer
     Saying Good-bye to the Property
     Shame, or the Computer Uses of Natural Language
     1 September, 100 Degrees
     Trying to Buy off Death
     I Can’t. Yes, You Can
     Worry about Meaning
     Plate xii
     Three Ways of Looking at It

Part Three
     Women Raised in the Fifties
     What Is Good
     Lot’s Wives
     Some Other Women Now
     I Am Sick

Part Four
     Piecing the Universe Together with Dresses
     She Speaks
     Pregnant Woman
     Small Shelter
     A Meeting with My Ex-Husband
     High Ground
     With Stanley Kunitz at the Car Wash

Part Five
     Journal Entry: The Tropics
     Friend in a Distant City
     Helios at Bread Loaf, the Album
     The Man
     My Dream, Your Dream
     September: Getting Married Again
     Inside the Geese
     Life Outside the Self: The Uncertainty Principle


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