Poet

After appearing in small-press reviews around the world, my poems are finally available in complete editions.

 Feel welcome to add these to your collection.

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Blue_RockThe blues and rock. A diamond. And love. Compressed and distilled.

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.

The 80 pieces in Blue Rock, having appeared widely in literary journals around the globe, now stand for the first time 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.

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The rose, a longstanding metaphor for love itself, also reflects the conflicts of contemporary desire. Just what makes a rose such a recurring quest in all of its award-winning varieties, anyhow? Oh, let us count the ways! Take a look at Long Stemmed Roses in a Shattered Mirror.

Roses 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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He said. She said. As for the third party? Written in the white heat of two weeks, the 60 American sonnets of Braided Double-Cross search for the hidden thread in the braids of attraction, obsession, desire, and even betrayal.

Poetry
Braided Double-Cross

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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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.

Here's the cover.The poems are often playful, filled with wonder and appreciation for the varied life that envelops us.

This 35-page echapbook is available free from the Barometric Pressures author series at Kind of a Hurricane Press.

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They’re animals, after all, and so are we. Encounters with elk open Bright Sweet Crude before moving on to eagles and whales. For humans, these are lessons in living in ecological balance, harmony, and awareness.

Bright Sweet Crude
Bright Sweet Crude

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, just click here.

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With the collapse of the industrial heartland and its rooted neighborhoods, the poems of Rust and the Wound ask, Just what does it mean to be made in the USA today? As the Oracle perceives, much will depend on the vision you carry and advance toward rebirth and renewal.

Rust and Wound 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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Arising in a gritty investigation of love gone wrong and its ultimate conviction, Johnny Badge appeared as a 32-page chapbook from Cleveland-based Writing Knights Press. Its 27 poems hit the road in pursuit of uncovering the fuller story but found something quite different and eventually healing. (The chapbook is now out of print.)

Johnny_BadgeHere’s Isabell VanMerlin’s reaction: “I just finished reading Johnny Badge and I am – well, how many adjectives shall I use?  I love the way you express your thoughts and observations!  I feel as if we are riding parallel brain waves! I know you are aligned with Divine Mind – as I am – we all are – but our expressions are each unique!  And I am so touched by yours.”

It’s poems are jagged and urban, even as they ride out into the Rust Belt and the fields beyond.

The cover image, “Summer Street Passing,” is a painting by Richard Brown Lethem.

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Many of the nature poems collected in Green Repose are rooted in the cave-riddled countryside of southern Indiana before leaping across the continent, to the Far West, on one side, and back to New England, on the other. The title itself is drawn from a line by naturalist John Muir.

Green Repose 1 For your own free copy, click here.

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The Olympic Peninsula of the Pacific Northwest remains a unique place in the American landscape, one where Native mythology overlaps with wilderness and the wild ocean. With a longpoem as a travelogue at its heart, American Olympus explores a one-week trek into its wondrous world and back.

Two additional sections in this collection are Grilled Salmon, which plays with Chief Seattle in his continuing presence along Puget Sound, and Waterlines, tracing the spirit of rivers across the continent.

Olympus 1For your own free copy, click here.

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The four years I lived just to the east of the Cascade Range were a time of intense exploration, discovery, and growth for me. Here we were, settled between the tall mountains and rainforests beyond, on one side, and open desert, including the irrigated apple orchard we inhabited, on the other.

Under the Mountain arises from those high country trails, the streams below, and the people we met in that magical journey.

Mountain 1For your own free copy, click here.

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Back Pack marches into the wilderness back country and the lessons it instills. Its poems become an interior field guide from childhood to the present, ranging across the Midwest, the Appalachian Mountains north and south, and the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. Lean, then, into the wind as we climb.

Back Pack 1For your own free copy, click here.

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The Susquehanna River reaches through much of Upstate New York and interior Pennsylvania before pouring into Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The poems of Susquehanna reflect her moods and influences through the cycles of a year. Jonathan Caswell’s verdict: “Poetry definitely worth the read!”

David J. Bauman, The Dad Poet, concurs: “Having grown up on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, then moving to where the two branches meet, after being away for a few years off and on, now moving to the north branch, the river just a few blocks downhill from me, I can say that this set really hits home, literally. The mood and imagery are very true to the place. I’m enjoying these. Thank you.”

Susquehanna 1For your own free copy, click here.

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Residing in inner-city neighborhoods just off downtown or splitting the apartment rent with roommates prompts the poems in this collection. Riverside runs through that experience.

Riverside 1For your own free copy, click here.

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Imbued with the rhythm of tides and waves through the seasons, Fiddler Crab in the Score reflects the ocean and its coastline, especially in my encounters in New England. Through the fishing and whaling industries to the China trade and beyond, these restless waters are an element of the Yankee character where I’ve come to live. The tide itself can be quite impressive.

Fiddler Crab 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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As a musical form, a partita is an instrumental suite of dances, often with Baroque ornamentation. As a verbal construction, the poems of these Six Partitas dance with contemporary imagery, style, and bounce.

Partitas 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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As musical settings of sacred Latin texts as well as the Psalms, traditional motets appear in both ancient liturgical chanting and Renaissance choral polyphony. It’s a rich tradition covering centuries. With that as inspiration, my Motets & Psalms collection of intimate poems focused on spiritual practice and religious faith speak in a contemporary vernacular language and encounter.

Motets 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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Is it possible for a single voice – the linear progression of verbal expression – to turn into something akin to musical chords and then continue to progress the way the multiple lines of a fugue do, overlapping one another as they move along in their independent melodic lines? That’s the intent of these 50 Preludes & Fugues.

Preludes 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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The five poems in Elders Hold reflect the essential work of wise guides within a spiritual community. The traditions reflected here include Quaker, Mennonite, and Brethren as well as Buddhist and Yogin, plus mentors in artistic endeavors.

Elders 1As I note in the afterward to this free 22-page chapbook from Thistle/Flinch editions:

Teacher, mentor, guru, therapist, coach – I’ve known many. To the extent the practice of an art, or even a life journey, is spiritual, it will be unpredictable, erratic, and above all, dangerous. Paradoxically, this is the reason certain ancient disciplines become essential, with their masters of practical wisdom and experience. Innovation, after all, builds on the past. Of all the pious guides, the elder remains unique. Not one to be worshipped or revered, but respected. Often, a father or mother figure, yet not exactly a parent in any sense of scolding or dominion. Sometimes an elder engages in “close labor,” as historic Quakers have noted in their journals – the uncomfortable showdown over some personal blot, a matter of rebuking and correction. More likely, a gentle question. Even from a distance or else briefly, they may touch something deep within those who willingly listen and watch.  

Turn to those who are authentic rather than counterfeit. And, as some elders caution, keep a close eye on Coyote.

For your own free copy, click here.

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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.

Jnana_Hodson_CVR_Waves_Rolling~*~

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.

harbor cover.jpg.opt370x493o0,0s370x493The 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.

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“The wind blows wherever it pleases,” as John 3:8 proclaims. With Ripples in a Bejeweled Prayer Flag, the path includes a discourse on a Volkswagen Sutra, reflections on the practice of writing, and even meditations on death itself. Consider these poems as compact and glistening as the scarab emblem from ancient Egypt, itself an awareness of moving into the realms of the underworld and returning safely to the air above.

Poetry
Ripples in a Bejeweled Prayer Flag

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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Chaucer had his pilgrims. In our times, the alternative just might be a Village of Gargoyles. Here are 200 of them, along with a splash in honor of Shakespeare’s own hamlet.

Village of Gargoyles
Village of Gargoyles

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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The surfaces the eye lands upon or the fingers stroke expose invitations for deep listening, too. Just listen in this Foreign Exchange.

Poetry
Foreign Exchange

To enjoy this collection, just click here.

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The children’s names were Noble, Blue, and Liberty, ringing with a uniquely American spirit. Maybe these poems of Noble Blue Liberty will somehow find them.

Poetry
Noble Blue Liberty

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COMING IN SEPTEMBER: From the cultures of ancient Egypt, Israel, and Greece to Rome and beyond, the shores of the Mediterranean Sea give birth to Western Civilization. In this exploration, the poems of Mediterraneo also delve along the rim of northern Africa as well as the courtyards of Barcelona, where the Minotaur enters.

Poetry
Mediterraneo

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN OCTOBER: Encounters in the off-hours come to life as Night Owls & Early Birds.

Poetry
Night Owls & Early Birds

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COMING IN DECEMBER: In daily encounters, especially of a passionate sort, a little something is taken from here for there. And the other way around. The daily beat doesn’t always run to a metronome, either. A little flexibility always helps, as the poems of Rubato suggest.

Poetry
Rubato

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN JANUARY: The prose-poem in a unique genre, as the 100 pieces in Bounce demonstrate. How about letters to friends?

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COMING IN FEBRUARY: With a series of Police Blotter Love poems at its heart, Rumpled Sheets arises in the unsettled nature of modern life – especially as it roams through intimate relationships.

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COMING IN MARCH: The everyday poems of Tool Chest toy with useful items at hand, mostly. It’s not just a guy thing, either, as something as essential as a broom demonstrates. But it is about working with others along the way.

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COMING IN APRIL: Micropoems, visual wordplay, and a long solo into the night are supported by an underlying beat instinct in this short, intense set of Drumming.

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COMING IN MAY: As they say, it takes two to tango. In reality, maybe more, especially when Dance Partners engage in flirting and a clandestine tryst. Sometimes it might even turn deadly, as when the arrows of Eros hit in error.

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN JUNE: The poems of Rough Rice are a kind of recipe of what’s been served in intimate interactions the seemingly invisible witness has overheard or overseen. Getting in the mud is not always pretty, nor is the matter of making sausage, so we’ve been told. If you’re ready for a little newsy gossip, check this out.

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN JULY: Sometimes even random arrays of alphabet letters can become fascinating, a kind of exotic calligraphy to be viewed from a less-than-literal perspective. Sun Spots explore that kind of awareness, based on the consequences of one particularly powerful solar flare outburst.

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COMING IN AUGUST 2018: Adolescent love can be something you never forget, as the brief poems of Still Tender attest.

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COMING IN SEPTEMBER 2018: Who knows where the eggs originate, other than the hen. They still get traded in Chicago.

The poems of Chicago Eggs, in some manner, reflect the working of my multi-layered, mercurial thought process. (Never mind my heart, all the more elusive and often contradictory!) I love those lucid moments – sharp, brief – when everything, including thought and emotion, cracks through, centered, full, and stilled.

Rarely, however, does my intellect flow in such a focused narrative. More typically, it flashes on something and then leaps to another, seemingly miles away. The way the hens producing those eggs work so far from the futures traders up in Chicago. Why, those figures fluctuate wildly, day to day!

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN OCTOBER 2018: Daily life is full of surprises, as Composites Update demonstrates, looking back.

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN NOVEMBER 2018: Consider these found poems of a visual sort. An old-fashioned Type Case is still full of potential.

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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COMING IN DECEMBER 2018: The photographically composed observations of Shot in the Glass become a tiny, bejeweled album, though one of the poems wants to break out into a bigger movie. So much, ultimately, is about visual mystery and attraction.

Enjoy this collection and more at Thistle/Flinch editions.

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New England is a unique place in the American experience, a land of craggy coastlines and mountains to match. Colorful calendars attempt to catch the spirit of the land and its people, but they gloss over the harsher realities, the side expressed in the stark winged skull that appears on many of the region’s Colonial-era headstones before they are romanticized in a profusion of Victorian angels. The poems in Winged Death’s Head: A New England Almanac weave together the centuries of struggle and progression from Puritan and Pilgrim to Yankee and then today’s New Englander. Each month presents a different facet.

Winged Death 1For your own free copy, click here.

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Setting forth to reclaim an urban plot for a family garden leads to more than fresh produce and flowers. It’s an act of relationship and discovery – as well as heartbreak and renewal. There Is No Statuary in Our Garden Except for the Plastic Spacemen Occasionally Surfacing is one account, ranging from asparagus to zucchini, along with a few friendly skunks.

Garden 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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According to tradition, a husband will be handy when it comes to home repairs – an assumption that multiplies into other aspects of heading a family. In practice, as Home Maintenance observes, we may begin to wonder if it really matters whether he can drive a nail straight or frame a door. The real household care turns out to be something quite different, and not altogether in his hands.

Home Maintenance 1

For this free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

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Squirrels are taken to be cute critters, but once they start dwelling in the walls of your home, all bets are off. For the homeowner, they’re clever, ruthless, destructive adversaries. More disturbing is when their opponents, in turn, start taking on a few of their qualities. Anyone else want a walnut?

For Rat-Tat Oscar, a free Thistle/Flinch PDF edition, click here.

Rat Tat 1

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My first chapbook, Returning to the Table, is now available in a 31-page PDF edition at Thistle/Flinch.

Returning 1For your own free copy, click here.

Originally published in a 24-page volume, its poems celebrate what women uniquely do and preserve — especially when it comes to the kitchen table and the family that gathers around it.

100_8867The original print edition.

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What Others Have Said

Here’s 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

Many of my works can also be found in literary journals online.

Jnana Hodson
Jnana Hodson … five decades later.
Writing and revising in the early '70s.
Writing and revising in the early ’70s.
Jnana Hodson
Four decades and many works later …

16 thoughts on “Poet

  1. I read every word of this and even moreso now, am honored I attracted your attention and have held it. I had no idea your works have been printed in 5 continents, and I had never heard of a chapbook before until you. What exactly is it?

    I look forward to reading more from you and learning from one each other, being enlightened, inspired and seeing things in new ways.

    The subjects we both have chosen to write in are very similar and in many ways we are kindred spirits.

    Sincerely,

    • Chapbooks are thin volumes, usually 20 to 36 pages, and have a long history in the world of poetry, especially. (Essentially, they’re pamphlets.)
      If you look at full collections of poetry, you’ll often find they’re comprised of four to six of these, which were published previously and then finally drawn together under one roof, so to speak.
      At the time I began reading and writing poetry, many of these chapbooks were mimeographed, a messy technology that long ago gave way to photocopying, while others were produced with handset type and block-print artwork in very beautiful editions.
      “Johnny Badge” has a glossy cover and traditionally printed pages.
      The blogging world, meanwhile, is a great place to meet kindred spirits around the globe, as you’re finding.
      Here’s hoping you enjoy their comments as much as I do.

      • Are you the Johnny in Johnny Badge?
        Do you have a P.h.d in Journalism or some kind of journalism degree?
        If you don’t already, you probably could acquire one very easily, with your vast knowledge.

        Thank you for the detailed explanation of what a chapbook is. I will do more research on them.

        If I was to read one book about writing, which would you select for me?

        Paulette L Motzko

      • Hey, Paulette … I’m not exactly the tough guy character in Johnny Badge, though I’ve been through his heartbreak and healing. As for journalism, it’s one of those things I learned in the trenches under the tutelage of some great editors. As for a book about writing? We all start with Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style” and go from there, depending in part on what kind of writing we’re doing. There are many, many good volumes, including the critics. And if you can find a writers’ circle where you live, that’s often helpful. Another thing is to go to public poetry readings and the like; not only will you hear some stimulating work, it’s a good place to meet fellow writers who can point you to others.
        Best wishes and good writing!

      • I have that book as well as many others, and have been reading The Writer’s Market Handbook for years now. It was in a magazine years ago that I read that gave me the idea to create a blog in the first place. (I had no idea what one was!)
        Also I read an article about creating a “web platform” for exposure, readership, experience, notoriety, to develop a book list, and now I have all that.

        Of the ten web sites I have created Totally Inspired Mind: Where Positive Minds Congregate surprised me. In only one year it won numerous awards, and is approaching 780 followers and between 60 to 80 countries read and view it monthly.

    • Jnana, I am enjoying getting “acquainted” with you! Even your bio is eloquently written.

      PMotzko, have you ever read “On Writing” by Stephen King? Excellent!

      JH, I laughed right out loud at the mention of S and W’s “The Elements of Style!” Been a long time since I last read it. Spans generations and continents 😉

      Looking forward to uncovering more and more of your writings. Thank you for sharing.
      mycelts

      • Hello and thank you Jnana. Is it my bio you speak of?
        Seems it is always the Top Ten on the blog.
        I have never read it…Steven King – the horror story guy?
        I know he swears by The Writer’s Market handbook & so do I. Been reading em’ for 6 years.
        Than you for your kind words of support.

  2. I am wondering how to get my poetry published? I know I’m not as talented as you but still it would be awesome to accomplish something like that. Is there a publishing house you recommend? Am I good enough to be published? Thanks, Kate

    • Oh, my, that’s a vast topic! My first suggestion is to look for a local writers’ group — or better yet, one of fellow poets. Submitting to the literary journals is a valuable experience, as the others will explain, as is reading in public at open mics or in the writers’ circles.
      I remember a writing teacher I had in college telling of a highly regarded poet who got 20 rejections for every work submitted, and that was back-when. Still, it’s good perspective.
      Publication is not the end, though it can be a sweet dessert. The practice of writing, exploration, and sharing (even if just one-to-another) are just as vital.
      Now, keep at it!

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