Revenant is “ghost” in French, and in her eighth collection, Revenance, award-winning poet Cynthia Hogue coins a word to consider large questions of life and afterlife in poems of empathic encounters with others and with otherness, both natural and supernatural. Hogue is an elliptical poet, a “poet of conscience,” as Alice Fulton has called her, and in this collection, poems of revenance counter and converse with more ethically-inflected and elegiac poems in the volume.
Like her earlier collections, The Incognito Body and Or Consequence, Revenance is exploratory and openended. Poems cross boundaries of time and space, transmuting strong emotion into concept and word, entering the public sphere through what Hogue calls, following Spiritualism, a vibratory leap.
Revenance bridges the linguistic divide, the integumental veil obscuring vision.
In her splendid eighth collection of poems, Cynthia Hogue looks deep and listens hard, finding the “In/Visible” in the visible, straining to hear “something, and more.” Whether she’s inhabiting landscape or exploring art, Hogue seeks what eludes us, whether in depth or evanescence. Absence looms, in our impoverished and polluted earth, in the scraps of a lost interview, in the foreshadowed elegies that close the book; but the poet’s deft use of language and form allow both what is and what is no more to be “bodied forth, returning like a revenant: not whole, but changed.”