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Ernest Hilbert


Born in Philadelphia and raised in southern New Jersey, poet, critic, and editor Ernest Hilbert received a BA from Rutgers University and a PhD in English literature from St. Catherine’s College of Oxford University, where he studied with James Fenton and Jon Stallworthy.   In his debut collection, Sixty Sonnets (2009), Hilbert establishes a variation on the sonnet form, employing an intricate rhyme scheme and varied line length. A skillful practitioner of form and nuance, Hilbert shifts between delicately sonic moments and humorous narrative sequences. As poet and critic Adam Kirsch noted of the poems in Sixty Sonnets, “In these sonnets, whose dark harmonies and omnivorous intellect remind the reader of Robert Lowell’s, Hilbert is alternately fugitive and connoisseur, hard drinker and high thinker.” Hilbert’s second collection, All of You on the Good Earth (2013), returns to his idiosyncratic, highly inventive sonnet form.   Hilbert founded the Oxford Quarterly and E-Verse Radio. He has also served as editor of both the Contemporary Poetry Review and Random House’s magazine Bold Type. Hilbert’s work has been included in The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (2009), and he has collaborated with composers such as Daniel Felsenfeld, Stella Sung, and Christopher LaRosa. His spoken word album, Elegies & Laments (2013), includes tracks of Hilbert’s poems backed by his band, Legendary Misbehavior.   Hilbert lives with his wife in Philadelphia, where he works as a rare book dealer.

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