Magic Helicopter Press


by Kamden Hilliard

$8 + shipping

Order Distress Tolerance

7.25x8.5 | Saddlestitched | 52 pg
First edition: March 7 2016, 100 numbered copies

Ada Lovelace
Innovative Chapbook Series


“What does it mean to be pigeonholed? As a subjugated body in America, in the bosom of a messiah, under a “baldblue sky,” betwixt a lover, a whiteboy, a trauma, the present moment? In Kamden Hilliard’s Distress Tolerance, much as the title reflects, the world is full of urgent contradictions that instruct the spheres of this pigeonhole.

In Distress Tolerance’s world building, Hilliard infests language itself with a self-aware brutality, and their forms are slanted, stunned, and ripped by a geography wherein 'to mark is to destroy is to court danger.'

Even the destroyed body can flirt with how we’ve ruined one another. But in the wreckage, something—a Yonkers star, a Virginia Slim, a small salmon, a pigeonhole—is glimmering. And it’s remarkable, remarkable.” — Natalie Eilbert


Kamden Hilliard is a poet, writer, and educator running through Hawaii with their woes, which include fellowships from The Davidson Institute and Callaloo. Kamden prefers Kam and won the 2015 Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Poetry Prize. Kam is a co-editor at Jellyfish and their work has appeared in (or will drift into) Juked, Entropy Magazine, Bodega, Word Riot, The Atlas Review, and other lovely places.

Cover image by Neilson Ishida


two interactive spinning audio poems

"no baby but the poem is about you" in Really System
"the post standard solution" in Juked
"in which protagonist is unable to ignore the eyes this time" in Sakura Review
"Hong Kong aubade" in The James Franco Review


“Kamden Hilliard’s Distress Tolerance is an act of tangled agency—of splicing, building, and moving through languages that work both to “tolerate” as well as to disrupt this fucked-up world. These poems navigate chaos and traumatic experience, fear and desire, race and language, with their own relentless, forceful rhythm."Gale Thompson at The Rumpus

“Hilliard forces the body, in particular the Black body, to be seen, to be visible, both publicly and politically ... Hilliard subverts the white, heteronormative, patriarchal desperation for static identity. They mock definitions and parameters. The poems loop through the connections among erasure and trauma and humanity. Hilliard wrests these concepts out of the ether and into the material, into the candid."John Allen Taylor at Redivider

Distress Tolerance concerns itself with identity, often linked to place, though more often connected to one’s place in the world ... Hilliard is preparing for their future—and preparing us to face ours—with their saints of the past and saints of the present leading the way."Kimberly Ann Southwick at Ploughshares


Copyright © All rights reserved