Bio

My four-decade career as a daily newspaper editor based me in Ohio (three times), southern Indiana, upstate New York, the interior desert of Washington state, the Mississippi River stretch of Iowa, big-city Baltimore, and finally northern New England – all while writing fiction and poetry in my free hours.

As a novelist and poet, I now live in a former seaport bordering Maine. These postings reflect the encounters that led me from my native Midwest to the East Coast back to the Midwest and on the Pacific Northwest before ricocheting backward to here. Add to that the new work emerging from my workbench and loft and all the surrounding activity. Quite simply, it’s not the life I imagined back in college — in its own way, it’s been both rockier and much richer.

Jnana Hodson
Jnana Hodson

Take my detour into yoga. The name Jnana – a Sanskrit term for the spiritual path of intellect or discernment – was bestowed in 1972 to affirm my unique inner nature during a year-and-a-half residency of intense yoga study and practice in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. In America, it is typically pronounced jah-na, sliding over the first n. In its fullest form, the name expanded by increments to Jnana-Devanandashram. The name also moves into Greek as gnosis and then into English as know. Got it?

Over the ensuing relocations, my spiritual practice pointed me ever more deeply into the Society of Friends (Quaker), which, to my surprise, was the faith of my Hodson/Hodgin/Hodgson ancestors. For the past three decades I’ve been an active member of Dover Quaker Meeting, affiliated with New England Yearly Meeting.

For writers like me who fall outside the book industry mainstream, the emergence of ebook publication is a boon. Once again, “experimental” literature — meaning writing free of genre conventions or commercially driven decisions — is available for the adventurous bookworm. Folks like you, I’m hoping.

My primary venue, as it were, comes in the publication of my novels through Smashwords.com, a source that allows you to obtain your own inexpensive volumes at digital edition retailers such as the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony, as well as Smashwords itself. Remember, these ebooks are available in the platform of your choice. Please note that if they’re not all showing up when you visit the site, your “adult content” filter may be on … the hippie experience, was, after all, an era noted for its sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. A simple click will fix that.

If you don’t have an ebook reader, consider downloading an Adobe Digital Reader, a nifty app for viewing and managing the books using your laptop or PC. It’s free.

 ~*~

Although formatting ebooks for widespread availability essentially converts them into scrolls, I’ve also sensed moments when I’d prefer to offer them in a more traditional appearance. That’s led to my ongoing series of releases at Thistle/Flinch editions, with free PDF volumes that can be downloaded and read on any laptop or PC. Check in there for my monthly releases of fiction, poetry, and spiritual nurture.

One of the best aspects of both the Smashwords and Thistle/Flinch editions is that they become available anywhere there’s an online connection — meaning globally as well as your own dwelling.

~*~

To learn more about my publications and related work, just click on:

For a video interview hosted by Sally Ember, tune in to Changes episode 24 filmed on March 18, 2015, by clicking here. It was quite an experience!

In the copy desk
In the copy desk “slot” in the newsroom in the days before pagination.
As I was as a young yogi, much earlier in this journey.
As I was as a young yogi, much earlier in this journey.

152 thoughts on “Bio

    • Phyllis,
      I think so often of you and the beautiful days in the orchard
      hope you are well and good and still full of life and love that you were all those many days ago.

      Still painting and still gardening
      withs cats and dogs but now with avocados and lemons
      love to you
      Patt b

    • Follow your line of Hodsons back and you’re likely to find them in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, along with mine. Many of the Quakers migrated north in reaction to slavery, while others stayed put as a witness. I’ll be posting much of my linage on a related blog, The Orphan George Chronicles.
      None of my line there, however, comes by way of Kentucky, although some of my grandmother’s Pennsylvania Dutch lines do.

      • Jnana, I am thrilled to come in contact with you. Your work that’s on display here is spectacular! My name is Hayden Hodgin, I am eighteen years old from Western North Carolina. History happens to be one of my greatest interest in life, and with that comes family history. While researching, I found nothing more than a bunch of dead ends. Until I came across your blog. I am filled with excitement, and mind blown about the origin of ‘our’ family. Yes, I am a descent from the of Joseph. The line that just so happened to change their name from Hodgson/ Hodson to Hodgin. From Gilford to Randolph county Joseph’s line moved. From there the son named ‘Martin’ (and Martin’s family) migrated to Macon county in the heart of the mountains. I am from the neighboring county called Jackson. I would love to talk with you more about our family!

      • Hayden, I’m so pleased you came across these postings. From what I’ve seen, Joseph’s line is the least researched of the four brothers, but it also stayed the most in the Carolinas.
        Like you, I originally came up mostly with dead ends, but then many of the other researchers I mention provided breakthroughs in our correspondence. Launching this blog was one way I could extend their assistance.
        Feel free to ask more, but most of what I have is already up online here.

  1. Jnana, I have been following your blog for several months now and get so much enjoyment from your images and writing. I have nominated you for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award. You can visit my blog (where I blogged about it today) if you want to participate. If not, I understand – please know that you are appreciated! Anna http://annahergert.wordpress.com

    • Anna, I really appreciate your enjoyment and the nomination. So far the awards side of blogging is largely a mystery, but I have learned a lot in the past year. I never realized how important the comments are, for starters, or how many wonderful blogs exist and then interconnect with each other. It is fun, isn’t it!

  2. Just read your poem “XXVI” on Whisper.

    Very nice.

    Nice to see that you contributed to one of the most interesting sites on the web, run be a very dedicated editor, Michael R. Roth.

  3. I was a Quaker attender for many years, and still have a deep love for Friends, though now I have moved further right or left – not sure which- in my approach to the spiritual life… and there are few things in life more precious than that hour of communal silence and meditation… I miss it..
    But life moves us on …
    So glad our blogs have connected again.

  4. Jnana, thank you so much for following my dharma beach bum site. After reading your blog, I feel very honored. I’ll be checking your site out in much more depth when I get back to SC from travels. I’ve been on the road for a bit, so please pardon me for not getting back from you sooner. Peace.

  5. Thank you for your comment about my review of Hippie by Barry Miles. From your bio you have a reason to have read or looked at it yourself.
    I’m looking at it after the fact. I’ve written the novel, Bitch., about Berkeley 1968-1973 which took decades to write. Publications in 2000, 2002 and 2012.
    It’s points of view start with 18 year old students at the University. I believe the book is good and solid. But today I don’t think 20 year olds would believe their grandparents were capable of anything that actually happened then.

    • More than that, there’s no awareness now of the restrictions that existed then. It’s incredible to think how far some things have advanced in four decades, as well as how many opportunities that closed off.

  6. Greetings Jnana,

    Thank you for liking my post at Comfortable Engagement Yoga! I’m so happy to read your good work and to be in kinship with your excellent spirit.
    I recognize, respect and affirm your goodness.

    Tim Keim

  7. Thank you for following my blog. I’ve read several things from you and do enjoy visiting. So sorry I didn’t realize I was not officially following you, but that is being corrected. Thanks again and I look forward to reading more.

  8. Thanks for stopping by The Pen’s Might and liking “The First Night.” Stop back any time, you’re always welcome and check out my art sites as well, if you have a mind to.

  9. Thanks for the visit. We have a lot in common: I live in New England too, lived in upstate NY and also went to camp in the Poconos. While I’m not Quaker, I have attended their friend’s meetings. They are peaceful and wonderful. We have them near where I live. 🙂

  10. Your life abounds in rich content. As of today, I’m following your blog hoping your phrases move me onward…
    Thank you for sharing your amazing talents and inner peace…
    AnnMarie
    newbie blogger and amateur wordsmith

    • Hey, Timothy. Thanks!
      Yes, my poems are widely available online if you Google “Jnana Hodson” using the quotation marks. Otherwise, you’ll get millions of hits on the word Jnana alone.
      Also, if you go to my Poet page in the Bio section of this blog, you’ll find links to my prose-poem chapbook, “Harbor of Grace,” and a micro-chapbook, “Waves Rolling Too,” both of which are free.

  11. Thanks for reading my blog post. I once fancied myself a hippie, albeit one of the mid-70’s. I remember watching the Richard Hittleman yoga classes on PBS, then buying his box set and learning about yoga diet and meditation. But, alas, the world stayed young and I got old.

  12. Thank you for sharing your journey and poems. Likewise, much of my inspiration comes from an Armenian culture that I was actually separated from through adoption into an American family. I am always inspired by other people’s unique paths to poetry.

    • Armenian culture definitely offers much inspiration, and I’m happy to hear you’ve reconnected with it.
      Each week I head off to sing with a choir in Watertown, Massachusetts, the center of so much Armenian culture in America and home to a wonderful museum and archives dedicated to that cause. It was in that museum one afternoon, just down the street from the church where we rehearse, that I was introduced to the poetry and letterpress printing of David Kherdian. Are you familiar with his work? “Living in Quiet” is a fine collection.
      In more experimental vein, Aram Saroyan is another of my favorite poets, again from the Armenian legacy.
      Here’s looking forward to your next visit at the Barn.

  13. Hi Jnana. Funny how beyondmd aka Heartblaze mentioned kindred spirit. I thought the same phrase before having read it. So pleased you liked “That 70s Egg.” You may enjoy my reminiscences at http://wp.me/p1X7Oe-1l, though you may find I am following behind you, stepping carefully into your footprints so as not to further disrupt the landscape. Cheers!

  14. Hi! I’m new to the blogging world and have just found this one for the first time. Wow – your life sounds like such an interesting story!! I look forward to hearing more about it as I read : ) Thank you for sharing!

  15. Namaste Jnana, Beautiful writing. I learned only a few years ago that my name is also of Sanskrit origin (little did my parents know that when they bestowed it after birth)… which, in hindsight, as well as given my long-term stay in Nepal and current residence in Indonesia… is perhaps not all that surprising. Thanks for dropping by my blog, I look forward to reading more of yours 😉

  16. Hi Jnana. Firstly, thanks for visiting/liking my post – Dew Point. I love the look/style of your site. It’s a pleasure to scroll through and look around it. I look forward to discovering more, when time permits.
    Steve.

  17. Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m so glad your visit led me here! You must have some wonderful stories to tell, both from your life and your imagination.

  18. Good Morning Jnana,
    I’m honored that you are reading my blog. You are such a fascinating fellow! In my imagination, we take long walks and I get to hear every detail of your amazing journey.
    Blessings to you,
    XoxJanet

  19. Hello Jnana
    Thanks for stopping by and liking some of my 50 word book reviews.
    More on the way!
    Regards
    Jim

  20. Interesting and impressive life you’ve led to date. I enjoyed reading your journey to the Quaker community. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I’ll be watching yours as the days go by.

  21. Ken Champney, the former editor of the Yellow Springs News (where Antioch is) started to teach by example, about the Quaker way. More has come form Guilford College and the meeting in Chapel Hill. My son will attend the Friends school in two years, if he gets in. As he knows:”just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.”

  22. Hari Om! Mr. Hodson,

    A blogger friend of mine nominated me for Liebster, and I nominated your blog Liebster’s award.

    I took this opportunity to get in touch with fellow bloggers who share similar interests. I think it’s kind of fun to get to know each other personally.

    Participation is not compulsory, I did it for fun, so feel free to join in if you like.

    Link: http://grabyourmind.com/2014/04/28/liebster-award-nomination/

    Regards,
    Krishna Dev

      • Hari Om,

        I’m a profound lover of poetries and I appreciate poets for their deep understanding of emotions and the way they manage to put them in words so beautifully, therefore sir, you and your blog have a special place.

        My apologies for not having read much of your blog posts yet, I’ve a very tight schedule. I will surely take out some time to read your poetries.

        Regards,
        Krishna Dev

    • Blogging is certainly widening my awareness of the world. When I began, I assumed my audience would be essentially North America. Many days, though, it turns out to be on six continents.
      And since blogging is a two-way street, I keep learning about unanticipated dimensions of places like Buenos Aires.
      What a world!

  23. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to like a post on my blog. I look forward to reading your writing 🙂 Scrolling through the comments posted here I have found several other sites to follow, too, so thank you for that!

  24. Zubaria, your youthful optimism is infectious. (Not that many youth I’m seeing these days are all that optimistic, which makes your observations all the more touching.)
    Hearing from backgrounds other than our own, especially as they speak from the heart as you do, is one of the joys of this blogging community.
    I’m also rooting for you as you take your values and faith out into the workplace. May you be blessed as you do.

    • Growing up, I had no idea of my family’s roots just south of Greensboro. Those findings are being detailed on my Orphan George Chronicles blog, if you’re interested.

  25. I am honored that you visited my site today and liked one of my posts. I must admit that I’m envious of you, since you get to live in New England,. I’ve never been there but I hear it’s beautiful!

  26. There is a certain peace here at the Barn. I appreciate that and I appreciate you taking a look and leaving a like on Shadows today. Bless you!

    • As a word of welcome, let me say WordPress is a great way to meet kindred spirits and to keep up with what they’re doing. Feel free to stop by the Barn and visit. You’ll encounter all kinds of folks besides me, thanks to the comments … and many of those, I find, are better than the post that prompted them.

  27. Thank you for your welcome to WordPress. Already I am finding it to be a good place to find kindred spirits, as you say. Writing prose and verse in solitude, as I do, it is good to know I can share what I have written with others and that I can read their works, too.

  28. From a former seaport in New England to the mountains of New Mexico, and all around the world . . . I love how the internet unites us in magical ways. Thanks very much for visiting my blog/website. Abundant song to you in all your inspired comings and goings . . .

  29. I´m glad you stopped by my crazy little blog. Just started writing about a year ago, and intermittently, after a 10+ years of writing hiatus, and unfortunately I wasn´t doing yoga, so I can sure learn from you.

    • In our case, being a dozen miles inland, it was a case of the river silting in. That was compounded by the dumping of toxic tar and other crude into the water.
      What we did have — and still do — is the railroad.
      The fishing industry, though, is suffering. Once again, the Maine shrimp season has been canceled to protect the remaining breeding stock.

  30. Thank you for stopping by…. my gardening aspires to take hold!…. I am daily amazed at the connections of life… most importantly, the next office in my building is Hodgsons… and I am excited to share your blog with them… to then delve into your writing… enjoy your history as a yogi… connect as an Iowanian… I’m from North Central… and always delight in New Hampshire, our dear friends live near Keene in the pond house! I am on the border of changes…. moving into a more spiritual time, taking more time for me, and finding my final career path…. 25 years ago I became a CPA to support our family…. and have lost a bit of myself along the way… time to use the energy apparent and step into the risk….. Thanks for being, one never knows how the connections are meant to connect…

  31. Thank you for the Like. It’s great to meet you, a poet and author. I am an 81 y/o inadvertently retired physician who had puttered around, punching random thoughts into my laptop. I have discovered blogging for recreation and visits with the outside world. I found a like-mind with bbnewab from Sweden. We created an internet forum: Blogger’s GPS. I have recently gathered n artist from Russia, a video book reviewer from England, ab artist/ poet from Washington state, a bucolic web editor from Iowa, a photojournalist from Istanbul, and some others. Perhaps you and I might converse again. Charles

  32. Dear Jnana, I notice you are at a costal town in New England. Although I was spawned in the dust bowl of Oklahoma during the Freat Depression, I taught Medicine at Darmouth for 5 years (age 65-70). I married a girl from Massachuettes who is a Harvard grad.; I have 2 adult sons educated in Boston; both have Master’s degrees in Music. In addition, I lived/ practiced in Hawaii for 3 years and London, England for 2 years.
    Thank you for your indulgence.
    Charles

  33. I spent the first 10 years of my professional career, 1966 to 1976, almost entirely as a copy editor, first at the Philadelphia Daily News and then at the New York Daily News. For the last three, I was chief copy editor of the New York paper. I don’t think there’s any better training for a writer. And my spiritual path took me to Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism. I have a Vietnamese and a Tibetan dharma name. My Tibetan name is the one I sometimes use, Urgyen Jigme (Fearless Lotus). So we have a lot in common. I look forward to reading more.

  34. Good to meet you, Jnana. My wife (we are 67) is deeply into both yoga and Buddhism. We live in the MO Bootheel, about 5 blocks from the Mississippi River.

    I am a former electrical engineer, English teacher, and currently an aspiring memoirist.

    Thanks for viewing (and liking) my blog post.

  35. Wonderful to learn about your many-faceted life. For years I went to Kirkridge, a retreat center near the Poconos, to discover and grow my spiritual roots. I once spent ten days at Pendle Hill in Philadelphia and found the silence of the Quaker meeting enriching.

    • We had some informal interactions with Kirkridge, back when I lived in the ashram. It’s programs looked marvelous. And we could see the ridge off in the distance when we were gardening.

  36. Jnana – Thank you for stopping by my blog at “My Thoughts On America.” After reading your bio I am humbled you read my post and even liked it. I am an aspiring writer, sort of, and I am looking for that mentor who would look over my shoulder, push me some and provide direction if you feel like it. Please feel free to pm me at palruss@gmail.com if you have any thoughts on this.
    Thank you – Russ P.

    • This is part of the joy of blogging at WordPress. Opening the Reader every day is like hearing from pen pals around the world and is always inspiring. Hope you find it the same. Now, keep reading and writing! We’re all in this together.

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