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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bernheimer and Hogue bring a spark to the Poetry Center


    Kate Bernheimer

    Kate Bernheimer and Cynthia Hogue were recent guests of the UA’s Poetry Center and read selections of their work and translations on the evening of August 30.

    There was a great turn out for the first reading of the new fall semester. I saw many familiar faces, like Ander Monson and Joshua Wilkinson, both faculty of the UA English/Creative Writing program. In fact, the event required overflow seating into the Center’s breezeway, opening the reading room to the rest of the Tucson wild.

    Bernheimer is a fiction writer and she’s taken on the fairy tale world, as a result, she has been aptly dubbed the Lady Knight.

    On Thursday she read from a work in progress about a girl named Mike who died in a double suicide with her mother. After her death, Mike goes to work at a place called Central as a night floater. Her job is to keep suicides company – not necessarily to stop them, but just to be there.

    Bernheimer’s story was full of interesting characters, like a bartender who pours generously at a place called The Bog, where it’s always happy hour. His name is Mike (just like our protagonist), and his mother’s name was Michael, too.

    Bernheimer told her new story with weight and practiced skill, it didn’t seem like she even had to move her lips to keep the story going, although her voice was strong and resonant throughout the open room. She told her story like a long, complicated algebraic expressions – there were lots of parenthetical stories that built a complex, intruiging story.

    Hogue read a few selections of poetry, including a piece from her book When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, and translations from Fortino Sámano (the overflowing of the poem).
    Hogue also spoke on her interest in the study of voice as involved in the poetic method and poetic method – appropriately her selections connected with this topic. Her Hurricane Katrina poems were created after she interviewed evacuees in New Orleans, and arranged their words into a poetic form.

    You could hear Hogue’s sincere concern in her poems; her voice was less practiced and more earnest. She was aware of the words as they existed in their present moment during that warm summer evening, allowing those in her audience to feel her work as she might.

    We had the special opportunity of hearing Hogue read Fortino Sámano in French. Regardless of her apologies for a poor accent, the poems were delivered with beauty. What’s more, Hogue gave 100% of the proceeds from the sales of her author copies of this translation to the Poetry Center.
    Join the Poetry Center on September 13 for a reading by C.D. Wright from 7 to 8 p.m.

    For more information, visit the center’s website at

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Jeannie @jwwwood.

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