Music and the wind first led me to words and poems: Lyric cries, then
simple little narratives. My own language went hand in hand with the
language and imaginations of those who have mastered the art (the Greeks,
the Romans, the English, the Americans, and poets from across the globe). I
taught high school and college students as I learned my own skills and
lived out my obsessions. Now, after thirty years and five books, my poems
are focused on the mountains and lakes of northern Maine along the Canadian
border and the people who live and work in that locality. But, as I also
spend time in Alaska, New Mexico, Wyoming, and California (on or near
Pueblos and Native American reservations), my recent poems reflect the land
contours, rivers, and life in those states (and especially spirit animals)
and the richness and variety of the weather of the natural world.
I’ve built three cabins on an island in Rangeley Lake in Maine where I
often live in winter as well as summer when I’m not teaching. Construction,
the machine shop, human labor as well as loons, moose, and bear provide the
subjects and imagery of recent poems. That island provides the solitude I
require for my writing, a liquid place of mountains and fierce shifts of
weather and temperature, an isolation in which I hear the voices that call
me to poems.
The working title of my sixth book is “The Wild and Human Work.” It’s a
collection of poems about wilderness and human life in the mountains of
Maine and contains similar poems about northern New Mexico and Alaska.
photos by Hugh Ogden