Michael Boughn’s new poetry collection, Hermetic Divagations – After H.D. (Swimmers Group, 2017) embraces the poetic method of H.D.’s Hermetic Definitions to arrive at a wholly new reflection on the many questions H.D. posed about war, love, spirituality, and survival–questions that retain their relevance for us today. Michael Boughn is the author of several books of poetry, including Cosmogrophia: A Post-Lucretian Faux Micro Epic (2010), which was nominated for the Governor General Award.
“Michael Boughn’s Hermetic Divagations is a luminous book of gratitude and persistence. Boughn weaves H.D.’s traditions, motifs and words in his own poised lines, examining a resonant image hoard—flame, angel, amber, lotus, worm, and owl, and thereupon continually re-discovering female figures emanating poise, eros and blessing amid confusion and depredation. “Then she is there” is a repeated realization. The work is at once a poetics of rumination evoking immanent presence and a meditation on the acts of war and rancor that harass grace. Hermetic Divagations is a serious and lucid reworking of questions of civilization where “dung and myrrh // mingle with air and fear,” yet where one persists in seeking the “hidden entrance in a world // of restricted visibility.” – Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Amy E. Elkins of Macalester College published “A Stitch in Time: H.D.’s Craft Modernism as Transhistoric Repair” in The Space Between: Literature and Culture 1914-1945, vol. 12, no. 6 (2016).Elkins’s abstract notes that her “essay presents, for the first time, an archive of H.D.’s needlework and demonstrates its relationship to her literary craft.” The essay is filled with rich images of H.D.’s embroidery, and Elkins links that work to psychological strategies of coping and survival in the wake of World War I.
This month’s Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform features “Mind the Gap! Modernism and Feminist Praxis.” Articles by Madelyn Detloff, Anne Fernald, Rowena Kennedy-Epstein, Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, and Ewa Ziarek take up the issue from a range of perspectives. Kennedy-Epstein’s “The Spirit of Revolt: Women Writers, Archives and the Cold War” begins with a curricular debate about the role and literary heft of H.D. in modernist studies today. Her defense of H.D. and other modernist women writers is wide-ranging and offers a compelling argument for ensuring that women writers feature prominently in the literary landscape.
Lara Vetter’s fascinating treatment of H.D.’s late prose in the political context of post-World War II has been released by UP Florida. Miranda Hickman notes that Vetter’s book demonstrates how H.D.’s late prose contributes to “politically attuned cultural work” and that Vetter “astutely counters longstanding claims about H.D.’s escapism.”
The University Press of Florida has just published Lara Vetter’s new book, A Curious Peril: H.D.’s Late Modernist Prose. The monograph offers readings of a range of H.D.’s post-World War II writing: The Sword Went Out to Sea, By Avon River, White Rose and the Red, The Mystery, Magic Mirror, Compassionate Friendship, and End to Torment, with briefer discussion of Thorn Thicket, the Hirslanden Notebooks, and, from earlier in H.D.’s career, The Moment and Palimpsest. It also includes a chronology of H.D.’s writing from this period and an appendix mapping works that H.D. owned or read that inform Vetter’s discussion.
The edited collection Modernist Women Writers
and Spirituality: A Piercing Darkness, edited by Elizabeth Anderson, Andrew Radford, and Heather Walton, has been released by Palgrave (January 2017). Contributions by Suzanne Hobson and Matte Robinson focus on H.D., alongside chapters devoted to a range of other modernist women writers, including Mary Butts, Jane Harrison, Dora Marsden, and many more.
Poet and H.D. Scholar, Cynthia Hogue, has published her ninth poetry collection, In June the Labyrinth(Red Hen Press, 2017). This book-length poetry sequence shares a mythopoetic approach often found in H.D.’s poetry as well. Excerpts from In June the Labyrinth have also been featured in Tupelo Quarterly.
Cynthia Hogue served as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in the Spring of 2014. She was a 2015 NEA Fellow in Translation, and holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.
Xoxox Press, a small press publisher in Gambier, Ohio, has issued a novella by Michelle Auerbach, titled Alice Modern.
Modernist poet H.D. and her lover, Winifred Ellerman (known as Bryher), are central protagonists in a graceful, erotically lush novella of 1930s Europe. Young Alice Modern tells the tale of leaving her bourgeois Jewish home in Vienna to work as a nanny in the household of H.D. and Bryher, caring for their young child Perdita. Entranced by the keen literary lives of “Kat” and “Gryphon” in Switzerland, Alice begins to transcend her tightly-bound life and discover who she is and might become. Her world opens and her sexuality awakens in a time of political turmoil and existential hazard, reckoning with her own inner storms and the approaching flames of fascism and holocaust.
“This taut, handsome tale brings the gone world so gleamingly to life you could imagine it was all happening just yesterday or earlier today or even tomorrow. Not only does Auerbach write excellent sentences, she deploys them with great care and craft to build a gripping tale of war, love, friendship, and the deep wells of the mind.” — Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome and Kind One
Though published in 2010, the H.D. special issue of the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory offers fascinating resources about H.D. and Robert Duncan, Sigmund Freud, the British Museum exhibits, spiritualism and the occult, and much more. The special issue, “H.D. and the Archaeology of Religion,” is introduced by Colbey Reid. Other articles are by Amy Evans, Lisa Simon, Erin M. McNellis, Amaranth Borsuk, and Merrill Cole.
A nice summary of the journal contents appears in H.D.’s Web: An E-newsletter, Winter 2009. Since the journal is indexed in religion and humanities databases, rather than ones devoted to literature, these citations may be hard to find.