Inspiring women: Louise Bogan

I'm interested in the fine thread that separates the personal from the private. I think what we create should be personal, that we should be deeply invested in it and there should be integrity behind it. Not that it needs to be autobiographical, but there should be something of us in it always.

But privacy is something we shouldn't have to give away. More and more we're required to share ourselves in order to succeed. Over and over, you'll hear that the best bloggers, businesswomen, artists are the ones who share, who expose the "real person". I struggle with this; the push and pull of wanting to share and wanting to pull back. Wanting to interact and wanting space.

Along these lines, I find Louise Bogan inspiring. Her poems are personal, yet economical. She doesn't lay herself bare. She balances the intellectual and emotional. And her poetry marries traditional meter and immediate, modern language. In doing so, she carves a little space between herself and the reader. This space, this control, deepens the lyricism of her poetry, it makes it more real somehow. She manages to give us more without giving herself up.

After The Persian


I have wept with the spring storm
Burned with the brutal summer.
Now, hearing the wind and the twanging bow-strings
I know what winter brings.

The hunt sweeps out upon the plain
And the garden darkens.
They will bring the trophies home
To bleed and perish
Beside the trellis and the lattices,
Beside the fountain, still flinging diamond water,
Beside the pool
(Which is eight-sided, like my heart).


All has been translated into treasure:
Weightless as amber,
Translucent as the currant on the branch,
Dark as the rose's thorn.

Where is the shimmer of evil?
This is the shell's iridescence
And the wild bird's wing.


Ignorant, I took up my burden in the wilderness.
Wise with great wisdom, I shall lay it down upon flowers.


Goodbye, goodbye!
There was so much to love, I could not love it all;
I could not love it enough.

Some things I overlooked, and some I could not find.
Let the crystal clasp them
When you drink your wine, in autumn.

Books: The Blue Estuaries: Poems: 1923-1968
Poets Prose: Selected Writings Of Louise Bogan
Image: Louise Bogan via Poetry Foundation
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