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Revenance Paperback – August 26, 2014
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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“Cynthia Hogue’s irony exists on the page of her poems as a profoundly gentle nudge to the spirit beyond the page―an acknowledgement that the world in all its glorious, fragile wonder is nonetheless a locus of grief and longing. For Hogue, the poem is a place of partial, and therefore always vulnerable, utterance―an impossible place that we arrive at in spite of ourselves . . . as she puts it, a ‘mystery / of frond fern / gorse a magic / to which / I relate to’―those line breaks and syntax expressing―with an Oppen-like clarity and a Susan Howe-like visual precision―the wonder of this poet and the new poems in Revenance.”
“In her splendid eighth collection of poems, Cynthia Hogue looks deep and listens hard, finding the ‘In / Visible’ in the visible, straining to hear ‘something, and more.’ Whether she’s inhabiting landscape or exploring art, Hogue seeks what eludes us, whether in depth or evanescence. Absence looms, in our impoverished and polluted earth, in the scraps of a lost interview, in the foreshadowed elegies that close the book; but the poet’s deft use of language and form allow both what is and what is no more to be ‘bodied forth, returning like a revenant: not whole, but changed.’”
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The effect of this on myself as a reader is a slowing down of my eye movement across the page, and opening of mindfulness that lets the subtle ghost passage into my reverie. This is serious stuff. One finds themselves hyper aware of one’s own breath as they read, the world slows down. We feel like words in wind. What we sense is a deeper form of absence, I wouldn’t say negative capacity, moreso, deep drought longing. These shadows become solid objects, a whole landscape of solid wind, the outline of the tree more real than the actual tree.
This linking of the idea of perceived forms having solidity, having mass, is in some way transferred to the rhetorical drive across Hogue’s lines. These moments are as if the displayed abstract becomes objectile, as if the idea itself were a form of energized construct: a new form of synesthesia in which what is felt by the mind has a tactile presence within the field. The reader that is summoned to this by the book by Houge’s call for: “the concentration it takes // for water to become/like ice.”