The daughter of poet Grace Hazard Conkling, Hilda Conkling grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts, where her mother was a professor of English at Smith College. A kind of child-poet prodigy, Conkling composed her entire body of poetic work between the ages of four and 14. Her mother transcribed her spoken work and submitted it for publication. Hilda’s first publication, in Poetry, came when she was six years old, and her work would later appear in Good Housekeeping and the Nation.
In her spare, lyric poems, Conkling often used metaphor to engage both natural and fantasy worlds. She published three collections of poetry: Poems by a Little Girl (1920), which included an introduction by poet Amy Lowell; Shoes of the Wind (1922); and Silverhorn, the Hilda Conkling Book for Other Children (1924). As an adult, she managed bookstores in Boston and Northampton.