Or Consequence (Paperback)
Red Hen Press, 9781597094764, 97pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Cynthia Hogue's stunning new collection, Or Consequence, by turns bristles with spiked, jagged lines or rustles with deep emotion, in poems that range ambitiously from meditations on freedom in the central long poetic cycle based on an archival slave narrative to poems crossing cultural and formal boundaries. Hogue's is an innovative poetics of inquiry and outrage, an analytic lyric striking a balance between methods of narrative and assemblage, and finally, between love and hope in the twenty-first century.
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Praise For Or Consequence…
Always a pioneer, with Or Consequence Cynthia Hogue enters new realms of visionary, speculative intelligence. She has become a student of "nubilous, light-flecked water," of consciousness as ontological and historical field. Her brilliantly complex poems vibrate with the absorptions and surprise of unbidden confrontations. They are supremely attentive fictions, awake to the reciprocities of love, power, karma, listening, trust, and memory, accountable to the expansive transformations of generosity and the most nuanced particulates of thought and feeling. "Consequence" broadens to include the gap between cause and effect, intention and expression, a terrain so ample it embraces pathos, tragedy, exaltation, and even comic associations as phrases eroded by use are rewired and weirded into freshness. This is a poetry of conscience, but Hogue's witnessing is delicate rather than didactic, rich with insurrections of mind and language. She is, moreover, an intensely visual poet whose subtle and various use of white space recalls the many forms of emptiness enumerated in Buddhism. I can think of no recent book that better suggests the turbulent and sublime possibilities of poetry. —Alice Fulton
With Or Consequence a gentleness is thrust into the clamor which does not diminish the firmness wherein these lines lie in waiting, asserting the historical record here, imagining the human options there: “Upon which so much.” –C.D. Wright
Cynthia Hogue finessing her materials with such wishful genius, chiasmically asking the pure questions: how to create space upon habitually imbruted ground, all the while Beauty, in an arched fold awaits us. —Lissa Wolsak