Litany of Flights
First Place Winner of the 2020 Paraclete Poetry Prize
Laura's poetry manuscript Litany of Flights was selected by judges Mark S. Burrows, Luci Shaw, and Jon M. Sweeney as the First Place winner of the 2020 Paraclete Poetry Prize. Litany of Flights will be published by Paraclete Press in the Fall of 2020. Click here to here to read the title poem.
Winner of the 2020 Paraclete Poetry Prize, Litany of Flights is a luminous examination of the journey of the soul, from moments of loss to moments of incandescent transformation. These poems remind us to behold the extraordinary in the ordinary, and that the secret workings of the divine occur even through the difficult: “the painful paring of your hollow bones has made you light.” Drawing on the beauty of the natural world, the devastating effects of drought and wildfires, tender moments of daily experience, and lessons of the saints, the poet creates a landscape of light and darkness, with unexpected turns into divine presence and absence. Through a spiral of red-tailed hawks, the nest of a mourning dove, the parting of waters, and the ripeness of a persimmon, this shimmering collection invites the reader to singular and transfiguring flight
Available for pre-order from Paraclete Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
“Some poets say their poems are borne in them; some believe poems come through: that the writer is merely the vessel. Such poets often take less credit for that voice of which they are the vehicle. These are the poets who give thanks. These are the poets who praise. They come straight out of the mystical tradition, locked in a simultaneous dance with the music and lyricism of St. Francis, Gerard Manly Hopkins, St. John of the Cross, George Herbert, as well as Attar’s The Conference of the Birds, Rumi, and Kabir. Laura Reece Hogan, a professed Third Order Carmelite, adds her name to this tradition in Litany of Flights, her debut full-length collection. In the spirit of Herbert’s belief that ‘then shall the fall further the flight in me,’ Hogan’s book begins with ‘the painful paring of your hollow bones’ as a preparation for transfiguration and departure. From there, it is all astonishment, really rapture, though the passage is made through flame, environmental devastation, and stories of profound loss ‘we all know.’ The earth is charred in California wildfires, but the poet can also see ‘a new Jerusalem…suffering/yet transformed, transforming.’ Fire is alchemical, and so is blood, and so is flight in its many forms, less escape than metamorphosis and secret passage, where we exalt our purpose, as Francis did in his own conversations with the birds, the letting go of what the world would have us be, in order that we pursue ‘mercy, this forgetting to remember,/the remembering to forget all except now, this present, this presence.’ There are many masterful poems in this collection, among them ‘Preaching of the Birds,’ ‘One Handful with Tranquility,’ ‘Penelope at her Unweaving,’ ‘St. John of the Cross Addresses the Dark Ray,’ and ‘Transmission.’ Though Hogan's work has come through her from higher ground, it is only the master devoted to her craft that can carry the language over and enact the perfected translation. She is a true poet, and Litany of Flights is a sensational debut.”
-David Keplinger, author of The Long Answer: New and Selected Poems
“Hogan never yearns to escape this world, or the hurt and pain of living in it—rather her poems yearn to enter the world ever more deeply. What links them is their posture of prayer: the work of paring away what is nonessential in the speaker until, hollowed, like the bones of birds, she is light enough for flight.”
-Robert Cording, author of Walking with Ruskin, and Professor Emeritus at College of the Holy Cross
"It is a rare privilege these days to dive into a poetry collection and find that the word that keeps reverberating in your ear is joy: from 'vats of joy' to 'cascades of joy,' from 'living in joy' to 'the joy in spilling praise.' Yet, joy does not come easy in Litany of Flights, for there are 'clefts of night' and 'barren months,' a church that burns, its cross 'tumbling into the nave like a sparkler.' Elsewhere, longing is a 'grounded bird' that 'thrashes against metal.' But the longing that animates this exquisite collection is for the One Who never fails, Who comes in cloud and burning bush, Who consumes and fulfills. And Laura Hogan knows this, viscerally. No wonder her poetry brims with joy; she knows what it is to be a creature in love with her Creator, thus able to offer--credibly--joy as the 'full flower of love.'"
-Sofia Starnes, former Virginia Poet Laureate, author of The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems
"Laura Reece Hogan combines the rich language of Gerard Manley Hopkins with the fierce passion of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to become a twenty-first-century singer of the ancient Song of Songs. Hers is a new, loving, musical voice that you will want to hear and incorporate into your prayers."
-Paul J. Willis, author of Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascade
“Litany of Flights turns its gaze to the natural world and to the heightened sacramental reality with which, as Hopkins puts it, all the created order is charged. At every turn, these mysteries are grounded in the sensory details of the world we apprehend, tree, sun, and star, squirrel and deer, fruit and flower, hawk and dove.”
-Sally Thomas, author of Motherland
“Hogan’s collection is lush with rivers, moonlight, and flowers. It is also sharp with scrub brush, lightning, and flame. Like the Scripture she draws from, her poems both comfort and unsettle with fierce imagery: ‘You wait for me to discover your love among the leaves and thorns...I join/your written roses in swaying dance, in blood-red bloom of belonging.’ Her poems are an invitation directly into the heart of this swaying dance. This is a debut that will draw you into wonder without letting go.”
-Tania Runyan, author of What Will Soon Take Place
Winner of 2018 Catholic Press Association Book Award, 2nd Place in Poetry
Laura’s poetry chapbook O Garden-Dweller is available from Finishing Line Press, Amazon, and barnesandnoble.com. This short poetry collection is a reimagining of the classic poetic text of the Song of Songs and what it might mean today in terms of how we seek out the divine in our own backyards, literally and figuratively.
"Laura Reece Hogan’s O Garden-Dweller is a twenty-first century Song of Songs—a lyrical invitation to seek the beloved among the 'lilt of robin, / goldfinch warble’ and the ‘medley / of sky and tree.' She carries us down the path to her desired destination with lovely alliteration and internal rhyme. The aptness of her word-choice delights again and again, and the subtlety of her images encourages us to dwell there."
-D.S. Martin, author of Conspiracy of Light, and editor of the Poiema Poetry Series
"Laura Reece Hogan’s O Garden-Dweller takes its title from the Song of Songs, and explores the seasons of love: between man and woman, the soul and the divine. She traces the yearning toward God through the delight which the lovers find in each other and in their garden. The garden, a drought, a wildfire and its aftermath, the transcendent within the quotidian, all grow together organically to make this book work as a whole. In this garden, with its riot of apricots, mock orange, roses, morning glories, sugar maples, we feel the 'sun-embered embrace,' see 'the dew shine[s], / a needlework of mercy,' drink in rain after drought as 'liquid mercy.' Hogan reminds us to 'stop and inhale goodness,' and after reading these poems, we do, we do."
-Barbara Crooker, author of Les Fauves and seven other books of poetry
"Laura Reece Hogan fills her debut collection to the brim with a luscious joy you will love to taste. O Garden-Dweller is notable for its full-bodied exuberance, a reach and a grasp that exceed themselves. Her poems are spiritually erotic and perhaps erotically spiritual in a way that honors the Song of Songs—and yet they wear their very own 'blood-red bloom of belonging.'”
-Paul J. Willis, author of Getting to Gardisky Lake and three other collections of poetry, and professor of English at Westmont College
In a Strange Land
Sacrament of Spring
Heavy with hibernation and eye-blink, I
flatten dewy baby green blades. I wonder
why my silver-tipped bear hair belongs here
in the glorious garden of fresh bursting pear
blossoms, where even branches birth red tender
shoots, newborn fists opening in innocent
praise. Light and rain and life! they cry, reach
to suckle sunshine. My hip scoffs, grumbles
an unwelcome antiphon. But you too, whisper
a thousand verdant buds on rejoicing hills
—you too! Fragrant roses draw, tumble me
on knees in invitation to inhale incense,
cinnamon crescendo, cardamom of angels.
Goldfinches swell the song—You too too too.
You new new new. Sight and sound and
scent of the sacrament of spring surge into
my heart, a living lightning strike of joy, kiss
electric, sparking blooms unknown to begin.
– Laura Reece Hogan
“Laura Reece Hogan’s poetry shines with gorgeous images and a sure spiritual intuition … a vivid new voice.”
More of Laura's poetry can be read in the following publications:
"Exodus" – July 2020, Santa Fe Review
"On the Efficacy of a Prophet" – July 2020, Cumberland River Review
"Bow in the Clouds" – July 2020, U.S. Catholic
"Absent Warning" – July 7, 2020, Poets Reading the News
"Ribbons" – June 16, 2020, Amethyst Review
"Via Negativa: Mourning Dove" – February 2020, First Things
"Do you want to be well?" and "The Eagle" – Dappled Things, SS. Peter and Paul 2019
"California Match Girl" – Solo Novo 7/8: Psalms of Cinder & Silt (Solo Press, 2019)
"Drawn" – October 2, 2019, Poems for Ephesians
"Water-Walkers" – Fall 2019, Anglican Theological Review , vol. 101, no. 4
"The Breaking" – Fall 2019, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, Issue 5.3
"Unexpected Wings" – Fall 2019, Whale Road Review, Issue 16
“Movable Feast” – August 2019, The Windhover, Issue 23.2
"The Eyes I Have Desired" – Easter 2019, The Cresset, Vol. 82, No. 4
"Litany of Flights" – August 2018, The Windhover, Issue 22.2
"Substance Theory" – August 6, 2018 issue, America
"The Superfluous Hen" – April 2018, Riddled with Arrows, Issue 2.1
“The Prince Decides” – March 2018, NonBinary Review, Issue 16 (Zoetic Press)
“Cherith” – February 2018, The Windhover, Issue 22.1
"Over the Falls" – July 17, 2017, ALTARWORK
“Nocturne” – February 2017, The Windhover, Issue 21.1
“Rain Comes in the Fourth Year” – September 4, 2016, Plum Tree Tavern
“Pantoum of the Tinderbox” – Spring 2016, The Penwood Review, vol. 20, no. 1
“Behold You Were Within Me” – May 15, 2016, PILGRIM: A Journal of Catholic Experience
“Organic Ink” – April 27, 2016, The Christian Century
“Sunrise after the Storm” and “Angel of Dark and Fire” – January 16, 2016, Faith, Hope and Fiction