Cynthia Hogue has published thirteen books, including nine collections of poetry, most recently Revenance, listed as one of the 2014 "Standout" books by the Academy of American Poets, and the forthcoming In June the Labyrinth (Red Hen Press, 2017). With Sylvain Gallais, Hogue co-translated Fortino Samano (The overflowing of the poem), from the French of poet Virginie Lalucq and philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn 2012), which won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2013. Hogue served as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in the Spring of 2014. She was a 2015 NEA Fellow in Translation, and holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.

Three Poems from Revenance (Red Hen Press, 2014)

I Sit Here Writing

The poem is cerebral. Its writing physical.
         Virginie Lalucq

It was evening then it wasn’t.
I wrote huddled, unsleeping,
pissing next door, not
eating, unbathed.  Words came forth

in a gush like blood.  
There was no pain—
nothing like that—
more like the concentration it takes

for water to become
ice.  I fainted once,
woke up on the floor.
Maybe I imagined it.  

The crush of air and spirits around me,
voices murmuring nothing
I understood, made my breath catch.  
I licked my lips, suddenly thirsty.

The words were poems.
I knew no more my fate
than when I was born: whether
when I arrived I’d have been

going there all along.  There’s no
there though.  There’s just here.  
Hello.  Morning’s limpid, lumin-
ous, the sky not yet not dark,

stars still, even Venus
which I consider without interest,
the silence a curse of linden
bursting silver, and the light slivering.


in the meadow magenta

(reading Robert Duncan in Haldon Forest)

bloom looks
like lupine from afar
but up close the small bell-
like flowers of wild hollyhock

            the holy that forth
            came that must

come mystery
of frond fern
gorse a magic
to which I

            relate to
            land of hillock and

bolder the grayer
sky and wood
the straight flat One
between them barred

            by the bushy Scots pine
            medicinal veridian of ever-

green which though
gossip rumor spell
or chance change us
is not changed


The Walking Woman of Lewisburg, PA

Reached the birch tree lightning broke, cracked, split, now dry beyond repair, cast
toward a terse, blue sky, birds sailing on wind’s wing in silhouette.  Thought to fly
with my dog back home but stopped by a woman I’ve seen walking far along the
two-lane highway in and out of town, on alleys (never streets).  Striding, a slip of a
person, bent as if skating into a stiff wind all the days of the year, who for whatever
reason can’t relent, until the moment stayed her: my dog, she told me, reminded her
of her own whole-cloth loss—twin huskies, husband, house—unspooled her on the
road,  face the ruddy hue of autumn apples left lying on the ground after first frost.


Cynthia Hogue



© 2016 Cynthia Hogue


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