Deborah Bogen

Poet and Novelist

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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.'"

Let Me Open You a Swan

Some poems:

Autopsy: To See For Yourself

In the vaults the Master lays the body on the table.
Tenderly he lifts the knife exposing the parts,
touching the body to put a lesson on it, noting
the way the clavicle's fixed with a glue that hardens
like the gum that holds butterfly eggs to a branch.
In the cloister students gather bringing bread
and wine. They have come seeking a lesson.
Amid the sweat and sweetness they work to decipher
the body, to see what is glued together, what floats
in its oily waters. And you are here also, witness
to these rituals, the aligning of descendant with
descendant, cause with cause. Sometimes there's
a flickering of light that falls on the scene.
Sometimes the whole flock lifts.


Ghost Images

The mind's a mad cupboard, blackened silver, cups and thimbles.
The mind's a jerky focusing machine still stuck on the girl
who hung by her knees.

And within the camera [opening : closing] - fireworks.
I mean within the empty box the light's frantic,
grappling with : the monk, the match, the gasoline.

The mind is likewise occupied, its light piteously stark, distorted
- but which if us can ever look away?

Into the angular cranium levers lift cold light, but
how dark and small the box.
And hands must hold the camera still, so stop your breath

[so stop your breath]

That's how you coax something into the box, something bloody or blood-lit,
a headless rooster or snipe - your attention split.

Seeing the two worlds.