Skip to content

Hoogland at Muses


Cornelia Hoagland was the feature reader at The Muses at Rasputin’s Thursday night. Between snow squalls, incoming snow storm and flu, the turn out was intimate. Q&A was conversation at tables.

Unfortunately, the organizer Mike Buckshot was ill but I could pitch-host and LM Rochefort ran the open mic. In the audience there were more people than readers. Lise Lise read, I read Mary Lee Bragg recited 2 poems. Colin Morton brought his book The Cabbage of Paradise (Seraphim Editions, 2007) which plays in Kurt Schwitters’ sandbox and with his story. That was a particular treat for me since 3 times I’ve been otherwise booked when Morton had readings. He read among others, All Hail the Party which fluctuates between the words bullet and ballot, the bullets getting thicker as he goes (sorry for that poem spoiler!). There’s also some vispo in there. Quite a change from what I expected having only read How to be Born Again (Quarry Press, 1992)

Cornelia Hoogland is a professor at The University of Western Ontario in The Faculty of Education. She writes plays, articles and lesson plans as well as poetry. She has a professional curiosity about the aesthetics of story in language and in mathematics. She has a long interest in the persective of women and Canadians, from Emily Carr to Canadian Women Poets.

Her list of credits and publications is long but this year she was shortlisted this year for Descant’s Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem and for the CBC literary awards (30 poets were shortlisted out of 1153 entrants.)

She is the founder and artistic director of Poetry London, a reading series of 15 years plus in London, Ontario. (It recently featured Elizabeth Bachinsky, Stephanie Bolster and David

Hoogland’s recent titles include: Cuba Journal (Black Moss Press, 2003), The Wire-Thin Bride (Turnstone, 1990), Marrying the Animals, and You are Home (Black Moss, 2001). She read from Marrying the Animals (Brick Books, 1995), and from a series she is working on using the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Marrying the Animals includes gems worth a revisit such as p. 25,

Such feasting

Days I’d gladly
give my life
for one glutinous swipe
through all the straight-backed
brownsuited years
of pews
to the red dress
one woman wore
and into which
as I child I poured
my future.

Such lovely pacing, enjambment, details, and sound flow. In another part of the book, she has poems inspired by Elizabeth Smart from which this is excerpted, p. 25

shovel for roots that would wither. Or sprout.

So ready you could have wrung
wild hyacinths from stone.

Part of what she teaches is critical narrative. She finds that people are attached to how the story is, as they heard it, but there are various shapes of the fairy tale where grandma gets eaten by the wolf, or stuck in a closet. She thinks that each person has a sort of heart-fairy-tale that particularly resonates. The filter of this story she refocuses in various directions as well as goes into a different head space than previous series of poems which she has explored. One poem was entitled Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf in the Grocery Store Some Years Later.

She is blending the sacred forest with power differential of adults to young females, infused with memories of fundamentalist strictures and structures and a cadence of speech that flows with dots of pathos and humor. There’s some lovely twists such as when sleeping beauty wakes up/ she’s 40, /she’s 50/ she’s divorced / she’s a he / she’s one of us.

[probably to be cross-posted to OPN once is feeling up to the task.]

Related posts:

  1. The Muses Reading Series ...

Categories: Uncategorized.

Comment Feed

One Response

  1. nice

    wow…quite a gem in “Such Feasting”!
    –Jim K.

    AnonymousMarch 15, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.