Nothing Vanishes


95 pages
ISBN 0-919897-52-5
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by James Deahl

James Deahl is co-publisher of Mekler & Deahl Publications and the
author of Under the Watchful Eye.


Nothing Vanishes is both disturbing and uplifting: disturbing in that
poem after poem reveals how alone we are, how we cannot truly know
another person, and how we are separated from those we love most by the
great gulf of our individual consciousness; uplifting in that the power
of love is invoked to help get us through our days.

In these poems, which deal with the poet’s relationship with his
wife, son, daughter, mother, and father, Hilles uses such devices as the
run-on sentence to explore the ways in which we think about each other
and, with luck, come to understand each other. Hilles is a master of
free verse, but as good as these poems are, the real gold in this
collection is to be found in its prose poems, which offer a far deeper
exploration of the ambiguities of day-to-day experience. “The Snow Is
on Fire,” “Church Bells,” and “Apples” are among the
volume’s finest poems. Hilles manages to celebrate family and human
relationships without slipping into clichéd and meaningless

In terms of both content and poetics, Nothing Vanishes is more
accomplished than Hilles’s 1994 Governor General’s Award–winning
Cantos from a Small Room.


Hilles, Robert., “Nothing Vanishes,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,