Those Eternally Linked Lives. $14, paper. $17 with tax and postage. January 15, 2018
In Those Eternally Linked Lives Judy Hogan's lines rise and fall in reveries of psalm-like lyrics:
"Loving you was never easy, but I regret nothing." Looking back, letting the words find themselves, Hogan turns love to beauty.
Her magnificent hymn sings itself.
This collection of gentle poems bear and wear their craft lightly but deliver identifiable truths.
They offer questions and subtle declarations; a wellspring of good medicine for all of our hearts.
"You said that one must travel a long road to reach the heart. How far have we come now?"
Those Eternally Linked Lives show us how the heart travels despite the dangers of social and political interruptions, loss,
and heartbreak. Startlingly transparent and sensuously opaque all at once, these poems are rooted deeply in the soil of the
natural world and the celebration of the everydayness of living.
This River: an epic love poem, Judy Hogan's Poetry from Wild Embers Press of Oregon under their Watersongs Imprint. This
River may be ordered from Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559 for
$15, to pick up, or $18 to be mailed. If you order two copies,
it's $30 to pick up and $33 to be mailed.
When I left Kostroma after my first Sister Cities of Durham visit in 1990, my host, Mikhail, and I had the mayor's blessing to start exchange visits between our writers, and I had also fallen in love with this man who opened Russian culture to me and seemed my equal and my soul-mate in all the ways that mattered. I could tell that he loved me, too, but would never leave his wife and his sons. As we waited for our train back to Moscow, Mikhail said, ‘One day, Judy, we will each have a wing and we’ll fly somewhere together.’
Perhaps it was the largest passion of my life, after my desire to write. It is the time, however, to share this whole story. May it illumine other souls as it did ours.
"This River holds our hands up to the magic in the dark moon with figurative
language that pulls shards of tenderness from a world that is bloody
with sting of sunlit longing and a psychic quest for redemption. These
poems resurrect an ancient enchanted necklace worn by a herstorical
aching that Judy Hogan bears into utterance.
the speaker’s observations of nature are liquid with impassioned drive.
The phrases in this poem are smooth flowing, and this fluency in
language seems a reflection of the river where she studies and
meditates. Each eddy, and bird, and leaf is clearly drawn and
vital to the sense of place and self. Identities of the self and
qualities of desire are pulled into her observations and
transformations and move us as the river moves.
In This River,
Judy Hogan takes paths forged by Proust and Virginia Woolf down and in
to the deepest most nuanced passages of the soul. Using a great
Piedmont river as matter, metaphor, and muse she shows one woman’s
transcendent journey beyond vulnerability to a place of abiding grace.
This River is not only beautiful poetry, but a compelling story as
Beaver Soul. Judy Hogan. Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY. $12.
Chapbook. May be ordered from finishinglinepress.com $12 plus $3 postage. Or send a check to Finishing Line
Press, PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY, 40324. From Judy: $13 to pick up. $15 to mail. ISBN: 978-1-62229-324-7
Publication date: October 1, 2013.
Review of Judy Hogan’s chapbook, Beaver Soul by Sharon Ewing:
These poems should be read slowly and savored. Beaver Soul is a collection of meditations evoked by a closely observed world of nature ranging from the Haw River in North Carolina to the Russian countryside of Kostroma, and ending on the banks of the River Teign in Devon, England. Through a seamless blending of the language of metaphor with the descriptive language of the empirical natural world, the poet discovers and shares with us her insights. She both shows and tells us of her journey. The opening line of the first poem (This River 6) launches us into both worlds with a simile: Memories are like fish. The page is dotted with abstract words, with concepts: Love, Belief, Truth, but the poet grapples with her demand for proofs and finds in her observation of the beaver’s life, evidence that satisfies a trusting heart. The poem shifts seamlessly from natural descriptions of the beaver’s work, from observations of “bites of wood and bark,” and distinguishing “pale orange of fresh wood from the gray” to a “she” who “can build a whole world on one sentence she almost didn’t/hear.” The poet has moved us from observing the beaver to seeing into the inner life of the poet.
By the third poem, (Beaver Soul 1) the poet identifies her spirit with “this beaver who understands the river,/ not perfectly but in all ways that/ matter. I’ve inherited, by long study,/ her beaver soul.” The following poem, (Beaver Soul 6) is prefaced by a Russian proverb: “When trouble arrives, open the gates.” And the poet does indeed open the gate, she lets her terror go, accepts the mud as well as the Light of spring; and, as she watches, the mud settles deeper as turtles swim upward to “the sun-warmed air” and with shells “still loggy with cold. . . bathe in sun.” Then, in a Miltonian extended metaphor, these sunbathing turtles become a flotilla of “the unwardoffable Greeks. . . come again to retrieve Helen.” We are suddenly in Homer’s world, and the poet knows “Light is on their side, but they will suffer this time too.” And she knows that if she wants, like Homer, to “sing words that can call old turtles up . . . wake up throaty peepers . . . and soothe the ache/ in branches still alive, which ice has cruelly snapped and left for dead,” she must “Remember: the world is/ nothing else. Just mud and light.” And by the next poem, (Beaver Soul 8), she has, by “The power of one yellow narcissus on a cold spring Sunday afternoon,” moved from the dark brown of the dead of winter to the promise of the resurrection of spring.
As the poet identifies her spirit with the beaver, her Beaver Soul, she moves to a greater understanding of the Russian concept of “soul” as her friendships with Russians develop long-distance through letters, and by mid-summer (Beaver Soul 15), she is in Russia, falling in love with Russian fields, meadows, and people: “I sleep in a Russian field. . . . Russia is mine. Nothing/ can take my peacefulness away. . . My soul comes to rest. The meadow welcomes/ me now because the people here/ have tugged the heavy gate that/ was between us open. . . . Our fears have retreated. . . We find all the words we want. And our eyes/ say the rest. Our language is/ the only human one.
Beaver Soul is Judy Hogan’s love song for Russia. The poems begin along the shore of the Haw River, and move to Russia. Judy’s writings about the natural world use metaphors as a way of exploding
the bounds of perception. Her poems are informational,
compressing experiences, and continue over a span of thirty years to
help us see the likenesses between systems of human, plant,
animal, and celestial worlds. Judy teaches us how to use
our poet eyes, how to guide us to truths beyond the scientific way of
seeing, weighing, measuring, abstraction, and dissection.
These are love poems. The heroine-hero is the Earth. In this way,
Judy Hogan’s poems remind me of Thoreau’s journals. Like Thoreau,
she is a natural-born lover of anything that grows, anything original,
most particularly the earth that looks after itself continually... You
hear Emerson’s world in the background, that yearning to transcend the
self. To do this the poet must keep open house to the
world. So Judy Hogan writes within the romantic
sensibility. She is a passion child. Her structure is the
old and classical kingdom’s.
–Nonna Slepakova, Russian translator of Beaver Soul