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Robert Hogg

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

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


torsion of your hips




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



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


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


even a Social


Politician hell

why not shout it

out loud in capital letters an


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



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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