Fusing lyric meditation and narrative perceptions, the poems in Cynthia Hogue’s new collection track the natural world and the self in it—from the Sonoran Desert of the Southwest to the far north of Iceland. In the tradition of the distilled and lyrically abstract poetry of Dickinson and H.D., Flux opens out into visionary language and the never-ending search for transcendence.
“Emerson described life as ‘a flux of moods’ and in her fine new book of poems, her best yet, Cynthia Hogue takes that impermanence, that emotional volatility, as her first subject, reading the natural world for signs, pushing the far edges of things, invoking her key female precursors as inspirational presences (Emily Dickinson, H.D.), and letting her imagination flow and even soar against the brute realities of death.”
“Cynthia Hogue’s poetry has always been a model of elegant compression and chiseled clarity. In her powerful new collection, Flux, she charts the necessity of human passion and individual courage in the face of those sometimes unexpected changes of experience and alterations to fate. With a remarkable poise, intelligence and maturity, Cynthia Hogue summons both fable and cultural dream-life to help address the otherwise precarious nature of a life’s passage. Precise yet expansive, this is an exhilarating collection of poems.”
—David St. John
“What marvelous rituals of preparation, dream, life, discovery, mystery, myth, these elegiac poems of survival. Fully aware of so many deaths, so many passages, Hogue takes us through portals, doors, painted rocks and skies to the seam between what we admit and what we won’t. The poems in Flux pit themselves against oblivion. I think of the poet as midwife to the departed, living or dead, including her self.”
“. . . Hogue’s touchstones are Emily Dickinson, HD, and Marianne Moore, and she pushes her innovative moves farther. Her hallmark as a poet is longing, for human connection, for what we might call wholeness. The dominant theme in Flux, expressed in every element (animal, mineral, vegetable) is the difficulty of communication. Every ground is unstable, every meaning is slippery, and every kind of knowledge refracts into mystery–yet we seek, search, quest, the human essence being to try. The underlying sadness of this is palpable. Hogue’s touch is gentle, thoughtful, probing, like a good physician’s. . . . Hogue’s poems inFlux, her third book, are challenging intellectually, and on the visceral level, complex. She is one of the most interesting poets I know, not settling for one or the other, always pushing the language, kneading and shaping it like dough. This is a poet honest enough to enter the space ‘between what you admit / and what you won’t.’ ”
—Pamela Petro, The Women’s Review of Books
Cynthia Hogue has published seven collections of poetry, most recently, The Incognito Body(2006), Or Consequence (2010), and the co-authored When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (interview-poems with photographs by Rebecca Ross ), also published in 2010. Among her honors are a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, the H.D. Fellowship at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant, and the Witter Bynner Translation Residency Fellowship at the Santa Fe Art Institute.
Also known for her criticism, Hogue has published essays on poetry, ranging from that of Emily Dickinson to Kathleen Fraser and Harryette Mullen. Her critical work includes the co-edited editions We Who Love To Be Astonished: Experimental Feminist Poetics and Performance Art (U of Alabama P, 2001); Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews (U of Iowa P, 2006); and the first edition of H.D.’s The Sword Went Out to Sea (Synthesis of a Dream), by Delia Alton (UP of Florida, 2007).
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 Department of English at ASU as the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry. CynthiaHogue.com