We are pleased to announce the ninth collection of poetry by SR Contributor Cynthia Hogue, titled In June The Labyrinth. The new collection was released in mid-april from Red Hen Press. From the publisher’s page:
In June the Labyrinth is a book-length serial poem that is part pilgrimage, part elegy, in which the main character, Elle, embarks on a quest of sorts, investigating not only the “labyrinth” as myth and symbol, but the “labyrinth of the broken heart.”
Find out more and purchase the book here. And you can read three poems by Cynthia Hogue in Issue 11 of Superstition Review.
Cynthia Hogue, ASU’s Marshall Chair in Poetry, and Jenny Irish, Assistant Director of ASU’s Creative Writing Program, give a poetry reading at Changing Hands Bookstore at the Tempe location 6428 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85283 on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 at 7 p.m. Hogue will be reading from her ninth collection, In June the Labyrinth and Irish will be reading from her debut collection, Common Ancestor. For more information on this event, visit the Changing Hands Bookstore’s website. This event is free and open to the public.
Hogue’s In June the Labyrinth the main character of this postmodern fable, travels a trans-historical and trans-geographical terrain, on a quest of sorts, investigating not only the “labyrinth” as myth and symbol, but something akin to the “labyrinth of the broken heart.” The story is an earnest female pilgrim’s journey, full of disappointment but also hard-won wisdom and courage.
Hogue has been described in a New York Times micro-review as having a “knack for intensity.” She has published fourteen books, including nine collections of poetry, most recently Revenance, listed as one of the 2014 “Standout” books by the Academy of American Poets, and In June the Labyrinth (Red Hen Press, 2017). With Sylvain Gallais, Hogue co-translated Fortino Sámano (The overflowing of the poem), from the French of poet Virginie Lalucq and philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn 2012), which won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2013. Hogue served as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in the Spring of 2014. She was a 2015 NEA Fellow in Translation, and holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.
Irish lives in Tempe, Arizona, where she teaches creative writing and serves as the Assistant Director of the Creative Program at Arizona State University. In addition to her new collection of poetry, Irish’s fiction has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Catapult, Colorado Review, Epoch, and The Georgia Review. Irish’s debut collection of prose poems, Common Ancestor, is an awe-inspiring read. From the confident power of its narratives to the hurricane-force language of its vision, this poetry is riveting. In two dramatic personae series of gorgeous, near-gothic detail, Irish looks at all the havoc humans wreak and does not blink. She scrutinizes violence with rare sang froid, and though never moralizing, leaves us in little doubt of the moral center of her universe: “Metal is not guilty for what it does in man’s hands, absent of soul,” as one poem puts it. In lines laced with brilliant figure and sly internal rhyme, Irish’s poetry is charged by truth’s searing song.
The Irish Book festival hosted by the Ennis Committee of Phoenix Sister Cities is approaching on September 27th and will take place at the Irish Cultural Center. The featured poets/writers include Thomas Kinsella, David Baker, Sara Berkeley Tolchin, Cynthia Hogue, Dr. Adrienne Leavy, and Yvonne Watterson.
The fundraiser will take place the evening before at the Phoenix Country club. Festival tickets are $45 (including a light lunch) with a special student rate of $20 also available.
The Ennis Committee of Phoenix Sister Cities will be hosting a Irish Book festival, with a focus in poetry, that will take place at the Irish Cultural Center on September 27th. In addition to the poets and speakers listed, a number of Irish publishers and independent bookshops are participating through their promotional materials, press releases etc., and they will be promoting the Yeats special issue of Poetry Ireland Review, which will be published in Ireland on September 12th. They will also be launching the third issue of the digital magazine,
Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine, which will focus on Irish poetry, at the festival.
A fundraising event will take place the evening before at the Phoenix Country club with authors present. The cost of the festival tickets are $45 which includes a light lunch, with a special student rate of $20 also available.
The featured Poets/Writers for include: David Baker, Sara Berkeley Tolchin, Cynthia Hogue, Adrienne Leavy, Yvonne Watterson as well as Thomas Kinsella via documentary screening and lecture.
For more information regarding the book festival and/or the fundraising event, you can visit their website.
Adrienne Rich, suffering from an excruciatingly painful and disabling disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, observed in her brief, haunting essay, “Voices from the air,” describing poetry’s peculiar relationship to suffering, “one property of poetic language [is] to engage with states that themselves would deprive us of language and reduce us to passive sufferers.” My opening sentence hesitates, interrupts itself, revises what I’ve just stated (or comments upon it), because I have previously had occasions to muse on poetry and suffering. Not long ago, an anthology entitled Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability included a brief essay about my revised relationship to Rich’s poetry upon contracting the disease from which she had suffered since childhood. I quoted her poetry and referred to poems and the essay I love, “Voices in the air,” which became, during my own most physically painful years, words that guided me away from a passivist, physical suffering that had silenced me and back to poetic language. I guess a simpler way of putting it would be to say that she has inspired me—that she was a life saver (in the sense of the life of the mind)—for most of my adult life!
If one wrote much on Rich when she was alive, one came to realize that she read and personally gave (or denied) permission to quote. To my relief, I was always granted permission, and it was clear that she remembered accounts of my own illness when we met a decade ago. I recall her smile as she came into the lobby, moving slowly, but holding herself with the dignified posture of pain. We sat next to each other by a fountain in the luxurious Scottsdale resort hotel where she was a featured reader and I was, of all accidents, her host at a local conference. We did not need many words to reflect awareness of the cognitive dissonance of the fancy resort. Rather worse for wear, our bodies not bathing-suit worthy, we shared the experience of remembering our bodies every single minute of our lives because of pain. We spoke of other things. I’m grateful for those moments of fellowship with this great poet and feminist activist. But it lulled me.
My last exchange with Rich was a fitting reminder of her exacting, poetic and ethical standards. The brief essay I wrote for Beauty Is a Verb profoundly irritated her. Although she gave her permission for me to quote her, she wrote the Permissions Editor at Norton (not me) that she wished “Ms. Hogue could find a less reductive way of articulating my poetry’s importance to her” than claiming the following:
I have been moved by poetry that conveys the essential. I live with, contemplate Adrienne Rich’s poems and essays about having rheumatoid arthritis (as it happens, the very disease I have). I never took in the details until I was myself living them. Rich reported news I had no way to understand, because it was about a body’s experience I did not share, and described the indescribable (pain). (BIAV 307)
“To my knowledge,” Rich wrote the Permissions Editor, “I have never written ‘about’ having RA.” I had been happy with this little essay until I received Rich’s cautionary email warning me that my expression was reducing her poetry to her illness. When I went back to the essay, to my horror, all the “abouts” leapt out at me like so many pointing fingers! Thus were Rich’s final words directed to me, some months before she died of the complications of RA. After the ashamed shock receded, I acknowledged her great-hearted, hard-won, and rigorous empathy. To honor her, I must re-vision (in Rich’s well-known definition: to see with new eyes) my own engagement not only with her language, but also with my own.
And I wanted to share my musings on this experience, because it is in the spirit of poetry’s verbal precision and conscious attentiveness that we all may participate more care-fully in helping to carry on her legacy, to convey some part of the Rich heritage of all she gave us.
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