Deborah Bogen

Poet and Novelist

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POETRY

POETRY
Chosen by Helene Cordona for the 2017 Jacar Press Poetry Book Award, "Free Fall" contains a suite of poems chosen by Jericho Brown for the 2016 New Letters Poetry Prize.
"What we have in Deborah Bogen's Let Me Open You a Swan is sublime poetry, the rare gift of a terrifying look into the shaping of a warrior poet and her work. " Michelle Mitchell-Foust "In Bogen, suffering cannot be transcended, and yet, while tribulation is fiercely present, it brings to the world an ironic and stubborn luster, a glint, a scintilla of light. "Let Me Open You a Swan" is a vibrant and wholly original work." Lynn Emanuel
Landscape With Silos was a National Poetry Series Finalist and Winner of the 2005 XJ Kennedy Poetry Prize

"Deb Bogen writes poetry that is naked and necessary, unadorned and political, intelligent and genereous. The book brims with intelligence." ---Carol Frost
Living by the Children's Cemetery was Winner of the 2002 ByLine Press Chapbook Competition

Judge Edward Hirsch commented that the book "provides a profound answer to the poet's own call for 'someting sinister, something/ fragile, something Bessie Smith/ could sing.'"

Landscape with Silos

"Bogenís poems have a kind of unpretentious authority, sometimes ruefully realistic, sometimes quietly mysterious; the whole of Landscape with Silos goes to make something stronger and greater than its parts." ---Jean Valentine

"Here are poems of a lively intelligence, agile, wounded, and wise... quite simply a marvelous book." ---Betty Adcock

"Deb Bogen writes poetry that is naked and necessary, unadorned and political, intelligent and generous. The book brims with intelligence. And reality." ---Carol Frost

Moving the Moon

Iím not interested in the shaggy horse
(or is it a pony?) although itís white.
Itís usually dirty, comes into my mind with steam
rising from thick fur.

I close the gate, improvise some
dark green and black, an undifferentiated
thickness above which I put a moon
for accent.    Go Ďway horse.    Shoo.

Stop chomping, stop blowing clouds of heat.
I stare away, increasing
the darkness, inventing an owl, also
white but perhaps oracular

like the day the bird flew through the window,
the day I spoke in tongues,
          white fire
          white iron
          heat.

But heat brings back the horse, loaded

with things to trade, short, stocky,
not at all tired. So, this is an old landscape,
one Iíve hidden from myself
because itís stupid.

Dumb.
Doesnít speak, it insinuates a journey
and embarrassed I try to erase
the suddenly obvious owl before it drops a feather,

before a single symbolically meaningful feather
falls. But itís dangerous to imagine
owls, hard to blot them out,
even with chemicals,

scissors may fail, may leave another moon.
The horse lowers its head, eats.
Heat swells from the body and from
the bales of hay laid out

like giant erasers. Like desks
in a dark classroom. Still if I took drugs
this is where Iíd go. I canít
banish the stupid white horse

but I can move the moon, divide it,
put it back together.
I can draw any face on it
I like. And the owl leaves the low tree

to sit at my feet (owl on the ground,
never meant to see that!)
More things catch moonlight, come
into being, distant silos,

small acorn crowns, each post moon-washed
and one-sided. Itís warm enough here
to do without fire, but
thatís it. No story. No arcane

wisdom or poignantly revealed momentous
event. I just like this quiet.
And the owl who opens his one
good eye. The horse

keeps his head in the hay making heat.
I prefer moonlight,
I like the green to be almost black.
I like a lot of space

with nothing going on.
A few white words
and the rim of the milk pail polished
and fine in my dark.

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Moving the Moon first appeared in the Iron Horse Literary Review
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Landscape with Silos

One nail sticking up in a pile of boards,
air bladders from fish brought home for supper,
sugar in green glass bowls,
glittering rattlesnakes.

The palsied ghosts of cloudstained women,
shadows of railroad men far from their homes,
a deep-freeze filled with molasses cookies,
broken concrete, lilacs, thunder.

We drank water from old pipes,
picnicked under windbreaks, peach pits
and egg shells, and in the glove box
roadmaps to the river, to the reservation,

to Fargo and Minot. But no maps
to the silos where men tended missiles so big
we didnít even dream about them.
They didnít scare us, those missiles,

not the men either who rose like bankers,
sat calmly at the counter, starched and pressed.
Keys jingled on their belts.
They ordered rootbeer and blackbottom pie.

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Landscape with Silos first appeared in Poetry International
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ISBN: 1-881515-93-1