Today's poetry for today's world

Cynthia Hogue 


Cynthia Hogue has published seven collections

of poetry, most recently, Or Consequence (2010)

and When the Water Came: Evacuess of Hurricane

Katrina, interview-poems and photographs

(2010, with Rebecca Ross).  Among her honors are

a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in

poetry, the H.D. Fellowship at the Beinecke Library

at Yale University, and Arizona Commission on the

Arts Project Grant, and the Wittner Bynner

Translation Residency Fellowship at the Santa Fe

Art Institute.  Hogue taught in the M.F.A. program

at the University of New Orleans before moving

to Pennsylvania, where she directed the Stadler

Center for Poetry at Bucknell University for eight

years.  While in Pennsylvania, she trained in conflict

resolution with the Mennonites and became a

trained mediator specializing in diversity issues 

in Education.  In 2003, she joined the English

Department at Arizona State University as the

Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern

and Contemporary Poetry.






Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey © 
Click any book cover to buy Cynthia Hogue's books. 




Étude (on Love)




I have been all this

while in transit which is to

say without a clear

aim in mind in


fact the mind feeling not clear

as if at the bottom of a lily-

pond, not the blue and

white nénuphars Monet painted going blind


but the mucky bottom with long green stems

in nubulous, light-flecked water. 

Do we all go through

this floating from time


to time when the self cannot see

the self so close in its need

to control, which is the urge

to have nothing


change?  This desire

surfaces with various

losses from which—great or small—

we go numb and suddenly can live


or die without fear.  Almost

waking I dreamed yesterday

of “interim”: a word I

saw throughout 


misspelled as “interum,” the in-

formation not misinformed

but misformed, the mind’s mis-

taking form


not content, revealing the truer within:

the “u” having replaced the “i”

like a “without which Thou

I could not be”: the dream come


back to body, this passional

possible, as middle-age discovers,

the self’s wildest yes

when yesterday I woke to you.




from: Or Consequence (Red Hen Press 2010)







At Delphi




The myth was all we had.  That story,

but what was it?  A path up a mountain,

and at the top, a rock, a tunnel

or entrance to an underground cave.


I could feel this . . . how to describe

a feeling that started like a vibration

or opening in the chest cavity,

then in the head and feet


even as I walked from the bottom

of the path and up, a winding

through thin pines lining the way?

The sun hailed us like song,


an old riming of light. 

This was a road pilgrims

had traveled.  We were walking it,

and my feet knew I walked here


before.  They knew this way. 

The feeling didn’t fade

but grew stronger as we came

into a great cleft in the cliffs.


A guide said, This was the sibyl’s rock,

and beside that precarious jut of boulder

was an opening into the ground. 

I was vibrating like a divining rod.


There was no where to go

but through the ruins.  My sister heard

a tone or tones, A chord, she said,

warning of peril or sorrow.  A future


we could see but not change. 

The story is the path or way.

We happen upon it once or twice,

arrive in the lucid noon


to a place where we once came

to know what we do not know. 

My body knew.  Still.  It felt

like a feeling.  I called it a feeling.




from: The Incognito Body (Red Hen Press 2006)







The Seal Woman




There was a moment when

I thought I would go too.

I’d lived so long with my sisters

crooning to men on shore,

sometimes nuzzling those few

found afloat in our sea

back to motionless land.


At sunset, people would gather

to watch us lifting ourselves up on rocks,

our coats shivered with fire.

Then we’d dip back in,

draw as near as we dared,

and bob in the shallows

watching them too.


But this night I am alone.

I have seen how the strange calls of men

put limbs like their own

on my sisters, stripped their fur

to freezing white skin.

I’ve seen my two sisters

crawl out of the water


and look back at me with alien faces.

I tried to follow but they said,

in voices already altered,

they gave you no name;

you must stay there.

I waited to be named a long time.

Now I wait for my sisters.


Their hair is white

as their wrinkled hide.

They come down to the water to keen

for their lost skin

and for the one whose name

escapes them.  But I’ve caught

their gaze and—dry so long—


their eyes fill with the sea.




from: The Woman in Red (Ahsahta Press 1989)







Writer's Tip:  Never settle.  Never be satisfied repeating what you do well. 

Keep growing.  Push the boundaries to discover the new.  




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