From the Contemporary Poetry Series #1
This small book-length poem by Hejinian presents a loosely linked series of everyday, abstracted pleasures where time is tactile yet immeasurable; when recognized, though, it is a revelation: “Now is a blinding instant one single explosion but somehow some part of it gets accentuated/ And each time the moment falls the emphasis of the moment falls into time differently/ No sooner noticed no sooner now that falls from something/ Now is a noted conjunction/ The happiness of knowing it appears.” …This near-treatise by one of our major experimental poets succeeds on its own terms, “in its own right.”
— Publishers Weekly
Praise for Happily
Reading Lyn Hejinian’s Happily can make one imagine a second, somewhat happier Stein telling stories in single long or short lines that are aware of one another as they go about their own affairs. The stories? That things exist, person-size, sentence-size; that events occur to change or to reconfirm these things. Happily gives lessons in language roping skills that no cowboy or girl should miss. It also seems to be a love poem.
— Bob Perelman
In Happily, Hejinian alerts us to the plenitudes of art, ideation, and sensation while maintaining a sublime ambivalence toward the strictures of death and decision. The piece extends her body of work into its most emotional territory. While taking the excess of language for granted, Hejinian distills thought down to its most basic—and elegant—necessities: chance, logic, happiness. Tragedy, longing—truth.
— Katherine Lederer
I love post-Romantic autobiography, and this brief cross-Stein-dressing keeps it dawning. Retro-introspective questioning reflects into generalisations of personal dilemma in a rare because truly free verse line.
— Peter Middleton, Third Factory