Woman in Red
In this collection of narrative poetry, Cynthia Hogue layers dream-like images over one another to convey a sense of what it means to be a woman—though as Pamela Stewart mentions in her preface, “there are no cozy earth-mothers, simplistic in their decorative aprons…. This is not ‘women’s poetry’ in any publisher’s-blurb sense.” Hogue’s women question identity and sex and being, as does the speaker of “The Seal Woman,” who sees her sisters transformed into humans by the calls of the men ashore. “They come down to the water to keen/ for their lost skin/…But I’ve caught/ their gaze and—dry so long—/ their eyes fill with the sea.”
The full text of Cynthia Hogue’s The Woman in Red is stored at Albertson Library at Boise State University, and can be downloaded here. You may also purchase a copy of the book.
The Suicide Sonnet
To be sad today and not to be able to
said at all. This disjuncture
of voice and memory, the something pure
like love past heat past letting know.
What was not done undoes when lovers face
each other’s loss. But yelled at me
you never, no nothing you said you see
I am. I’d have liked to erase
the figure of the woman, with you to say
like Nietzsche that she was truth was
lies and circumstance and always as
I was not. I couldn’t one way
or another imagine you. What was your
harbor. Haven. Where you flowered for.
—for Knud-Erik Holme Pedersen, 1953–1982
Copyright © 1989 by Cynthia Hogue
Cynthia Hogue has published seven collections of poetry, most recently Or Consequence and the co-authored When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (interview-poems with photographs by Rebecca Ross), both in 2010. When the Water Came was named a Notable Book in 2010 by Poetry International. Hogue’s translations have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Aufgabe, Interim, Poetry International, APR and Field, among other journals. She is the co-translator of Fortino Sámano (the overflowing of the poem) by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn, 2012). Among her honors are an NEA in poetry, the H.D. Fellowship at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, a residency at the MacDowell Colony, and the Witter Bynner Translation Residency Fellowship at the Santa Fe Art Institute.
Hogue taught in the MFA 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 in English.
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).