At a time when we would all like to go “green” and return ourselves to right thinking about nature and all living things, a perfect little book of poetry comes to us from Linda Hogan. Rounding the Human Corners connects us, as only a poet can, to the incredible link to human things; horses, water, whales, life of the unborn, plankton, oceans, trees and ourselves. ’When we walk together/ in the tall grasses, I feel her/ as if I am walking with mystery, /with beauty and fierce powers, /as if for a while we are the same animal/ and remember each other from before.’
‘Waking today/ just before winter/ when I try to name the color of grasses, / how I feel their beauty,/ there is no word.’ ’I have no wealth to speak of/ other than this,/ all this, just to praise the dry grasses/ and their color that can’t be spoken in words.’
She also explores our end of days and the continuing circle of life. ’Another dog lies at the door/ breathing, feet moving as it sleeps./ Like me, always walking toward something,/ even asleep, chasing, searching out/ some treasure and then one day/ we walk away from the body/ leaving the skin clothes lying empty/ and still travel on.’
When poetry is good it is that refreshing drink of water, it calls us to stop drink deeply, and think beyond ourselves. Linda Hogan is very good.
I’ve included some additional information about Linda, and she has a new fiction book out this year called People of the Whale. Linda Hogan is a Chickasaw poet, novelist, and essayist. She was born in Colorado and raised in Oklahoma. She is the author of several books of poetry and a collection of short fiction. She has received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, a Guggenheim Award, and a Five Civilized Tribes Playwriting Award. She received the Oklahoma Book Award for Mean Spirit.