"Poets, traditionally, historically, were those who asked basic (and unanswerable) questions. Who are we? Why do we live? Do we die forever?" - Louise Bogan
I've found great satisfaction in reading Louise Bogan's poems and her "autobiography" these past few months. The autobiography, Journey Around My Room, is described as "a mosaic" by Ruth Limmer, who pulled together passages from the great poet's writing, formal and informal - and it works. The mosaic presents a portrait of a fiercely independent, uncompromising artist.
Bogan was born and spent her infant years in Livermore Falls, Maine - a paper mill town not 100 miles from where I sit. Early in her short-lived marriage to a military officer, she would spend a year on an Army base on an island in Casco Bay, within view of my hometown of Portland. You can take a ferry to that island today where the buildings of the old base have been turned into summer homes.
She wrote: "The practice of lyric poetry - the most intense, the most condensed, the most purified form of language - must be centered in a genuine gift. The chances of getting away with pure fakery within it are very small. One cannot fib - it shows. One cannot manipulate - it spoils. One cannot apply decoration from the outside; or pretend that non-feeling is feeling; or indulge any of the lower-grade emotions, such as self-pity. The truth: and we can look back and see that piece of paper, in Dante, burning in the way paper always burns; and feel the coolness of Shakespeare's flowers; and the wet loops of Sabrina's hair. All immortal and all true.
"But it's silly to suggest the writing of poetry is something ethereal, a sort of soul-crashing, devastating emotional experience that wrings you. I have no fancy ideas about poetry. It's not like embroidery or painting on silk. It doesn't come to you on the wings of a dove. It's something you have to work hard at."
W.H. Auden said of Bogan, she "wrested beauty and truth out of dark places."
Do you need other reasons to read Louise Bogan?
If you search, you'll find recordings of her reading and hear that fine yankee accent. Here's a sample:
Our second year
And so we begin our second year with this issue. Hole In The Head Review was not a planned, thoroughly thought-out venture. To put it kindly, our beginnings were organic.
We quite literally believed the world needed another litmag (online, yet!) like it needs a hole in the head. And here we are. We finished year one with more than 12,000 views - nearly 10,000 of those were unique visitors to our site.
Hole In The Head is read around the world - check out the map on the "about" page to see the locations of the most recent readers.
We didn't anticipate the volume of submissions, robust from the very beginning. In fact, one of our associate editors (initials BB) questioned whether we should be producing a quarterly journal - would we have enough material to fill four issues each year?
It turns out, that hasn't been a problem. We have more high quality poetry, photography, art, and now videos than we can accept for each issue.
Thank you to all who have submitted your work for consideration. If we haven't accepted your work yet, keep trying!
Painter Eva Goetz provided this issue's cover with a stunning underwater kiss. You may remember Eva's angels, apes, and robots from our second issue. You'll find more of her vibrant, current, and beautiful work inside this issue. You can also view more of her work here: https://www.elizabethmossgalleries.com/eva-goetz-what-was-that
If you like what we're doing, please consider helping us out with a contribution. Just press on that little blue button down below that says "$upport Hole In The Head." We really appreciate it.
There is so much wonderful work in this issue - I'm not going to hold you back any longer. Jump in! And please let us know what you think. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll be back 05.01.2021
If you are in love with the infinite,
why grieve over earth washing away in the rain?