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Robert Hogg

Updated: Feb 18

Robert Hogg was born in Edmonton, Alberta, grew up in the Cariboo and Fraser Valley in British Columbia, and attended UBC during the early Sixties where he was associated with the Vancouver TISH poets and graduated with a BA in English and Creative Writing. In 1964 he hitchhiked east to Toronto, then visited Buffalo NY where Charles Olson was teaching. After spending a few months in NYC, Bob entered the graduate program at the State University of NY at Buffalo, completed a PhD and took a job teaching American and Canadian Poetry at Carleton University in Ottawa for the next 38 years. He currently resides at his farm fifty miles south of Ottawa and is working on four collections: Lamentations; The Cariboo Poems; Postcards, from America; and The Vancouver Work. His publications include: The Connexions, Berkeley: Oyez, 1966; Standing Back, Toronto: Coach House, 1972; Of Light, Toronto: Coach House, 1978; Heat Lightning, Windsor: Black Moss, 1986; There Is No Falling, Toronto: ECW, 1993; and as editor, An English Canadian Poetics, The Confederation Poets – Vol. 1, Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2009; and from Lamentations, Ottawa: above/ground, 2016. Two Cariboo poems, Ranch Days – The McIntosh from hawk/weed press in Kemptville, Ontario, and Ranch Days—for Ed Dorn from battleaxe press in Ottawa have recently been published (2019). He edited the April 2019 Canadian poetry issue of the Portland Maine Café Review.




Oil Change



Draining the oil of a tractor


is hardly a mythical act


worthy of classical hexameters





But neither is a seized up engine


a purely metaphysical fact


Likewise: add new




oil and change filter


are poor excuses for


Christian parable




Nonetheless we follow


such modern precepts


happily enough nor chafe





unduly at skinned knuckles


knowing that freedom consists


in meeting perfection half way


Dawn Poem


All cataracts


the gray-fall light


stepping between bodies/friends


asleep on the floor



had held itself


openly the white


blind pulled down



can’t keep out


the light


the night


sounds of your child


first chirps of a bird


rattling window night


weariness back


pain can’t


keep anything out


can’t keep out these


thoughts of you


here, turning in


sleep


torsion of your hips


clothed


quietly


sombre


I want to say but what


does that have to do with your lips


which seem to quiver


knowledge and loveliness


in the half light





After breakfast you read my Tarot


the cards falling


spherically the Sun


at center evidently


me


seated


diagonally watching


the cards fall


as from a distance


your hand


turning The Lovers


over upon my Sun I


want to believe


the cards are chosen we


are chosen as though some


power in the morning


sun breaks now


through the window


casts our fate





These are the things


I have had to say


in the dawn light




Day is so forgetful


of the night





A bird sings



Lost breath of a child


a set of closed eyes


against the light


Poem from a Letter



Strange how I have come upon you


in the darkness of your soul


that I did not see



opens now


a door into the Earth



The Angel is an act of love


imagining herself


“The rain falling on earth…”


no mention of




the spring



the I ‘Ching, or


Hesiod


singing for the Muses



Let there be earth in between


or a green meadow


a stream passing over


at High Tide the Sea


will lift itself inland


touching the salt bank


in memory



I would have it as you say


without the bridges;


Let the cloud stay


Take Two for Bernie Sanders—a Reprise


First it was the 2016

Primaries now

it’s the 2020

all American

Democratic Party

bake off

and once again

it's time the pundits

shut up and let

the people vote

for a real

politician

even a Social

Democratic

Politician hell

why not shout it

out loud in capital letters an

ALL AMERICAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC POLITICIAN

who’ll fend for

the homeless

the diabetic without insulin

the low wage earner

who can’t afford

an operation

if you can imagine

such a thing

America

LISTEN TO THIS MAN

What are you afraid of

that Daddy Warbucks

with his hundred

billion dollar

war chest

will slam the lid

on your fingers

yet again?

Big money always

wins you say well

Little Orphan Annie’s

got the people

believing there’s a future

to live for

Give them their hero

Give them

at long last

a chance



©Robert Hogg 2020-02-15




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