Poetry. Winner of the 2020 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. A book of poems based on a legendary UFO Encounter. Near Lancaster, New Hampshire, in the White Mountains, they noticed a bright light in the sky that seemed to be following them. The light grew larger and brighter.
Tony Trigilio has plucked an early incident of ufology from the margins of twentieth-century cultural history--Betty and Barney Hill's close encounter--and created from a variety of documentary sources an original and highly resonant work of contemporary poetry. What comes into question in PROOF SOMETHING HAPPENED is how the imagination creates out of pervasive psychological tensions its own inner typology. Employing an open-ended poetics, Trigilio offers a range of angles from which to approach the Hills' alleged abduction, challenging us to take responsibility for why we yearn to believe, or if not--what to expect.--Susan Howe
Tony Trigilio's PROOF SOMETHING HAPPENED is a stunning example of poetry's ability to access the unsayable. Though based on gaps--of memory, of credibility, of expressibility--what we experience is the unimaginable seeping in through those very gaps. His frankly gripping narrative is refracted through a poetic lens that complicates its surface and maximizes its ambiguity. A real tour de force, it turns us around and makes us face not only what we cannot see and cannot believe, but also what both see and believe but cannot face. He takes us to the point at which the limits of language and the limits of perception meet.--Cole Swensen
Tony Trigilio's PROOF SOMETHING HAPPENED is a peculiar and inventive take on the archival. It tells the story of Betty and Barney Hill and their supposed alien abduction. But rather than isolate the alien abduction as a singular moment--whether true or a lie--the book creates the sensation that the entire 1950s might be an alien energy, an energy that perhaps lives on in poems (such as these) and other sites, such as baseball games, late night TV shows, and paranoid letters. The anachronism of this energy makes me think of Greil Marcus's Weird, Old America, except here it is a weird new America, an expired newness that persists. Trigilio has made the archive into a meeting site of dream and fact.--Johannes G ransson
Tony Trigilio's repurposing of alien abduction narratives enacts a new turn in the recent move toward 'documental poetics, ' wherein archival testimony is transmogrified into poetry. The docu-dramatic clarity of Trigilio's style adds its own patina of verity to the story of a uniquely American transcendental encounter. Here is proof of the outer limits of human experience.--Andrew Joron