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 via the meditative discipline. 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.

Blue Rock

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, go to Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Scribd, Smashwords, Sony’s Kobo, and other fine ebook distributors.


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.

Most of the presentations here 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 my Thistle Finch blog. Here are some covers of what’s there. (Click on one, and you can then move through the rest of that year.)






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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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

20 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.


    1. 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.

      1. 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

      2. 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!

      3. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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

    1. 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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