Poet, teacher, lecturer, Le Hinton is the author of seven poetry collections including, most recently, Elegies for an Empire (Iris G. Press, 2023). His work has been widely published and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Pittsburgh Poetry Review for "Interview with Cotton (Part 1/Dreams)" and the Best of the Net by the Summerset Review for "Uses of Cotton (Visibility)." His poem “Epidemic” was honored by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and his poem "No Doubt About It (I Gotta Get Another Hat)" was selected for inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2014. “Our Ballpark” can be found outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread. His poems have also appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Progressive Magazine, The Skinny Poetry Journal, the Little Patuxent Review, and many other literary journals.
He has read his work at the Library of Congress for Grace Cavalieri's long-running series, The Poet and the Poem; Penn State University for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Public Poetry Project; in Charleston, South Carolina, for the Capital BookFest; San Juan, Puerto Rico at and in New York City at the New School for The Best American Poetry 2014 release reading.
Elegies for an Empire
The Language of Moisture
The God of Our Dreams
Black on Most Days
Status Post Hope
Waiting for Brion
Watching Antiques Roadshow with Tamir
He leans against the arm of a frayed brown
couch. I’m in the black vinyl chair. My West
Philly apartment has the logic of all dreams
and the scent of baking bread surrounds
us like a force field in a comic book. Or the sacred
breath of our ancestors. On the television a bow tie drones.
This cotton wreath is a piece
of folk art from the late 19th
or early 20th century.
Notice the details in the bolls, the
hard outside, the imaginary kindness
of the fluff. There’s an inflexible
kernel inside, obscured by the white.
There’s a note attached. “It's hard
to grow cotton, yield a crop,
and sell it at fair price. It's hard
to raise a boy”
Tamir stares at the screen and says nothing,
as a dot of blood expands into the fibers of his wine-
colored t-shirt just below LeBron’s 23.
He places his hand over his stomach then glances
toward the kitchen, calls for his mom
or mine or anyone who can comfort a boy.
The patina on the handle of the whip
tells us it was well-used
and most likely dates from the early 1840s.
There are brown stains at the tip
which indicate great wear and use.
If you can establish the provenance,
who owned it, whose blood has browned the end,
it could be worth a lot. It’s been too many years
for DNA testing to help.
Tamir cups a bullet in his red palms. Offers
it to the screen. “What is your appraisal?”
I would have liked to have been a teacher or play
football. I would have liked to have named a son”
He closes his eyes and sighs like an elder. “Do you have an Xbox
here? I wish I could just play Madden again?”
from Sing Silence
first published in Bards Against Hunger