- Kind: Perfectbound
- Pages: 300
- Language: English
- Date Published: December, 2016
- ISBN: 978-1-939929-25-9
Richard Hague’s new retrospective is a big, broad-backed beast of a book. One finds in its largeness a deftness of style such as lifts birds to flight. Most of these long poems and sequences have appeared before, and their re-collection here invites a gratifying immersion in the breadth and length of Hague’s poetic gift.
Hague’s poems summon affecting presences from soul and memory, from history and dream, from science and story. They both consider and inhabit nature, rendering it in stirring images, in lush and musical language, and in a voice that is passionate and sure.
These suites of poems cohere each in themselves, and together as pillars in the larger structure of the book. “Bestiary” is a primal meditation on the forces that move us from inside and out. “Where Drunk Men Go” is a dance of death and a shiver of personal revival. “Garden” is a paean to earth and human work. The book’s finale, “The Time It Takes Light,” is a master stroke, a creation song fully engaged with the history of modern science and realized with the poet’s consummate skill. Nothing less than the nature of reality and our double-edged humanity are here explored and woven together. A cosmos of the logos, if you will, Beasts, River, Drunk Men, Garden, Burst, & Light is a brilliant achievement. – A. E. Stringer, author of Late Breaking & Asbestos Brocade
Richard Hague’s SEQUENCES, a marvelous collection of series poems and longer poems, combines— in delightful variety— beauty and wisdom. As classic as it is modern, as medieval as it is mythic, quotidian as it is universal. From beginning to end, a great book to sit with after the busyness of the day. – Ron Houchin, Award-winning author of The Man Who Saws Us In Half
I had the privilege of interviewing Richard Hague not so many years ago about poetry and teaching and this, among the many things we discussed, will always remain with me: as far back as his college years he knew that his job “was not to become a poet that sounded the same at 60 as he had at 20 and whose subject matters remained the same at 60 as they were at 20. Given the variety of life, and given the variety of things that are interesting and things that poetry can be made from, why the hell would you want to limit yourself to one sort of specialized niche that is all yours? Poetry is vast. It’s large. You follow Whitman’s ‘I am large, I contain multitudes.’” And so, too, are these poems massive and multifarious in how and what they approach, but seen always through Dick Hague’s exacting eye for the specific and strange. His whole universe of poetry is “a kind of resonance and harmony” where “[e]ven language folds into itself / in odd places” and we, his readers, are grateful that it is so. – Pauletta Hansel, Poet Laureate of Cincinnati, author of Tangle
The Beast of Waking Up
Sometimes I’m as sluggish as a gnu,
but sometimes quick to strike,
the boomslang of the harried and undreaming.
I’m life’s essential problem.
You cannot choose me and you cannot lose me.
I’m with you like your skin.
You’re stuck. Wake up.
Richard Hague is a native of Steubenville, Ohio, and author of thirteen collections of poetry, including Ripening (The Ohio State University Press, l984) for which he was named Co-Poet of the Year in Ohio, Possible Debris (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, l988) and Alive in Hard Country (Bottom Dog Press, 2003) which was named 2004 Appalachian Poetry Book of the Year. His Milltown Natural: Essays and Stories From A Life was nominated for a National Book Award. Learning How: Stories, Yarns & Tales appeared from Bottom Dog Press in 2011. Most recent poetry titles are Public Hearings (Word Press, 2009), During The Recent Extinctions: New & Selected Poems, l982-2012 (Dos Madres Press 2012) and winner of The Weatherford Award, Where Drunk Men Go (Dos Madres Press 2015), and Beasts, River, Drunk Men, Garden, Burst, & Light: Sequences and Long Poems (Dos Madres Press 2016.) He is Writer-in-Residence at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.