From God’s Angle is a collection of poetry dedicated to physics and metaphysics. Focusing on the Chernobyl accident, Robert Hilles uses prose poetry to weave a narrative of this disaster and the nearly thirty-five years that have passed since. Hilles branches in several directions in this collection, delves into the impact Chernobyl had on the people and the ecosystem. Woven throughout, a love poem sequence called A Piece of Rag Wrapped Gold, serves as a backbone to the collection. Exploring the various nuances and tentacles of particle physics, including concepts such as Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Prompt Neutrons, and Delayed Neutrons, Robert Hilles commands a breadth of emotion that will keep the reader turning the page for more.
Over the years, Robert Hilles has proven himself a master of "empathy and compassion. His poems run the gamut from elegies to joyful proclamations of fate and trust. But he has outdone himself with From God’s Angle, Poems of the Atomic Age, a collection of prose poems revolving around the horrific accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear plant in 1986. With an emotional heft and a vivid sense of the healing powers that can penetrate even the most terrifying experience, Hilles creates an often brilliant panorama of history’s haunt and clarity. This very well may turn out to be one of Hilles’ greatest literary accomplishments.
From God’s Angle: Poems of the Atomic Age, gives the reader a glimpse into the post-Hiroshima world we inhabit. Robert Hilles writes brilliantly of “beauty in all that terror.” And yet, when we look at the horror straight on with unfailing eyes, these poems strike a match in the mind, illuminating dark matters, in a universe racing in the direction of the great attractor, asking the big questions, the metaphysical concerns of the most luminous human minds.
From “God's angle. It all makes sense until you look away.” Starting with poems from Chernobyl about the 1986 blast, for which “knowing the precise time of the explosion doesn't protect us”, Robert Hilles offers an expansive weave of philosophy, science, spirituality, and history. Turning to “The largest explosion in the universe...390 million light years” away, he continues to shed light through the lens of particle physics on God and humanity. Throughout, he explores the mystery of love as “a piece of rag wrapped gold.” The future may be “no longer a carnival but sewage flowing down a short drain,” but still we need poets to make sense of our existence, for “In a hundred years who will tell the story? And in a thousand who?” This story is worth reading.
Robert Hilles in From God’s Angle writes a powerful witness poem about a nuclear disaster with unsparing directness and engaging compassion. Speaking of the people who died tragically and those who returned to this contaminated region, he develops the book counterpointing the tragic events at Chernobyl with a deeply personal and universal love, embodying it in the central metaphor of “a piece of rag wrapped gold”, expressing how love can triumph over mankind’s tendency for destruction in the atomic age.
From God’s Angle is a remarkable book of a mature and accomplished poet whose intention is to alter the course of our thoughts and to ask ourselves what needs to be done to save humans from self-destruction. Robert Hilles’ prose poems take us on a moving, skillfully structured journey where every piece is enriched with details on the subject to help the reader acquire knowledge—for this reason alone this book is important. However, the tender lines composed of intimate moments between the poet and his wife “… and I’m thinking most of love and how it is not at all like radiation …” leave readers with a conviction that love is a priceless gift, which has the ability to transform us, and therefore create a richer, more meaningful life.