For me, the practice of meditation and of poetry are closely aligned. They both require attentiveness and quietude — time to slow down and reflect. Paradoxically, much of my work over five decades has been done on the run and then intensely distilled, compressed, and refined. I do like a jagged edge and a thesis-antithesis-synthesis setup, too, whether the subject at hand is love and relationships, the natural world, or social and cultural dynamics.
To feel the beat
The blues and rock. A diamond. And love. With all of their confounding fire.
These expressions of contemporary passion contrast to the traditional English love poem. Our era and its expectations, after all, are much different than the ones that came before us. Just consider the state of modern marriage.
“I can’t live without you,” after all, is likely to be countered with, “So why aren’t you dead yet?” The police radio may dispatch an officer with the report, “He wants his girlfriend removed from the apartment. He doesn’t know her name.” Or a hopeful male with a tag, “Homeless romantic,” at a singles gathering may get the derision of a trio of females, “Sounds like an incurable venereal disease.”
Even so, the desire for the appropriate partner remains.
The 80 pieces in Blue Rock, having appeared widely in literary journals around the globe, now stand complete in a free ebook edition available in your choice of platforms. For details on the collection or to obtain a copy, visit my page at Smashwords.
A smattering of what others have said of my poems
“Jnana Hodson tells many tales in the course of a single poem, sometimes giving us more info than others who drone on for 300-plus pages in their long-winded and shallow novels.” – The Hold, autumn 2005
“I get so many interesting impressions. The wordplay is great. The poems are complex, heady without needing to prove it.” – Brendon Backaus, editor of getunderground.com
Jnana “attempts to solve the problems of a new nature poetry. Reticent poetry, careful not to offend its object. Like haiku growing out of each other. The white dog like a koan, enigmatic.” – Robert Novak, Windless Orchard, spring 1976
“I’m particularly drawn to three examples from Jnana Hodson’s ‘Sun Spot’ series (numbers 34, 32, and 24). Each is a little concrete poem that uses very little text, and I can’t figure any of them out. Maybe that (and their clean visual style) is the source of my attraction.” – Geof Hugh, dbqp: visualizing poetics, 2005
Jnana presents “a beautifully succinct, metaphysical vision of a child’s wonder and being.” – Julia Pearson, New Hampshire Writers’ Project review posted online, 2002
Thistle Finch editions
This is my private imprint, drawing on more than a thousand works that previously appeared in poetry journals and literary reviews around the world, plus many of my more recent writings. The site also includes volumes of Quaker-related spirituality.
Since launching its digital editions in 2014, Thistle Finch has been publishing sets of my wide-ranging poetry and more.
My work is admittedly experimental, contemporary, often edgy, and these volumes vary widely in subject and approach. Sometimes they remind me of graffiti or jazz, while others are as still and crystalline as morning dew.
Each week, the site releases a new title. Most are short chapbooks of poetry, with PDF files you can read straight-through and another file you can print out for free as your own book on paper. Other offerings are broadsides or photo albums, also with printable options. These works all reflect places I’ve lived, people I’ve known and loved, and thoughts and impressions that zip through my head.
Remember, these are free PDF editions. Feel free to share them as you wish, as long as you credit their author.
For the current lineup, visit Thistle Finch.
And more …
The animal kingdom runs across the earth, into the sky, deep in the sea, even under the ground and through the human psyche. People, too, participate in this community of creatures. Our hearts, especially, beat with the rhythm.
The 20 poems comprising In a Heartbeat dance across this interplay, from television cartoon characters to ancient mythology and the many lessons and inspirations in between.
This 35-page echapbook is available free from the Barometric Pressures author series at Kind of a Hurricane Press.
During National Poetry Month 2013, the Origami Poems Project in Rhode Island released my Waves Rolling Too as a micro-chapbook. The four pieces embody six micropoems based in the Atlantic Seacoast of Cape Code and Maine.
Harbor of Grace, a chapbook of prose-poems from Fowlpox Press, is in memory of my close friend Charles Subock. They arise in the three years I lived in Baltimore.
The prose-poem, I should note, is a unique genre deserving more exploration. My approach here keeps the pieces short — under 100 words apiece — while infusing them with the synaptic leaps and intense imagery of their poetic aspirations.
One paperback chapbook of love-related poems is no longer in print, but used copies may be available online.
The cover painting is by Richard Brown Letham.
Many of my works can also be found in literary journals online.