Reviews and Comments on Selected Poems 1967 -2007.

“I like ‘Evening Near The Park’ and the Samuel Morse poem very much.”
–Richard Wilbur, Pulitzer Prize winner

In response to a poem written about a painting by the artist:
“You have done in words what I attempted in paint. Thank you for it.”
–James Wyeth, painter

“I must tell you that I am extremely attracted to your poem ‘Dream Ache.’ It’s perfect! I love the images. Your ‘Mona Lisa’ was excellent!”
–T.E. Breitenbach, painter and author of Proverbidioms.

“Loved the Bear! It’s superb. You have captured an experience many of us can relate to—and few others will believe.”
–Roy MacGregor, columnist for The Globe and Mail

“I enjoyed the wit in these poems, and found myself smiling at ‘Lines In Preparation For A Lunch Date,’ and moved by ‘Epitaph Of An American Soldier Killed In A Foreign Adventure,’ which has the pithy directness of some of Langston Hughes.”
–Annie Finch, author of Calendars

“Hudson Owen is a wonderful writer, he is not fixated on style nor subject, his pen roams freely.”
–Simon Barrett, Blogger News Network

“It’s hard to identify just one strength of Owen’s. He has several. He is as comfortable writing in meter as he is in free verse, but which he does better might be a matter of opinion. Personally, I think some of his finest lines are in meter.

I’m not always friendly to lighter verse, but with Owen I think I can make an exception. It’s those poems where he is light and airy, and even droll.

Owen, however, is at his best when he is showing his romantic spirit. A few of his lines showcase a dry wit and those are welcome, as well.

Owen has poems that could outlive his own name.”

— Allen Taylor, World Class Poetry.com

Reviews and Comments on The Endless Evolving Trilogy – A Poem Cycle

Every so often I read a poetry collection that totally throws me for a loop. In the case of Hudson Owen’s The Endless Evolving Trilogy, I would make that two loops.

Owen’s mind works in ways that few poets’ minds work. His perspective in the first section of the Trilogy — The Living Legend of Peezis Rilly Here — is truly unique, and takes strong, overt political stands. While much of the work in this first section hovers on the verge of doggerel, it by no means lessens the powerful messages behind poems like “The Carnival of Appetites”:

“Step right up and change your color.
Change your I.Q., bright or duller.
Inflate your rate, improve your tone.
Compose your nose, exchange your kinks.
It’s easier than you suppose,” L. Vie winks.
“Squirt silicone. All at the chemical exhibition.
The price is just your inhibition.”

Even more impressive to me were the poems in the latter two sections of Owen’s Trilogy, which deal head-on with the ironies and bitter fallout of the Vietnam War. In these sections, Owen steps away from the contrived rhymes that work fine in the first section, but would be a bit too flippant for the statements he wants to make here. These lines from “Vietnam” are just wonderful examples of how lyrical Owen can be:

There will always be a jungle
where an old man sits on a mat
and buries the day in opium sleep,
and a young mother searches
among the dead for her own.

There will always be a wind
that blows through the village,
sweeping the clouds from the moon
and the incense from the temple,
the rude rekindling of war.

Even if you’re thrown off by the poems of the first section of The Endless Evolving Trilogy, Owen will win you over with his brazen style and humor, as well as his lyrical sensibilities and willingness to wear his heart on these pages.
–Bernadette Geyer,Bernie E-Zine

“It (book) passes the smell test.”
–James Matthew Wilson

“I found the poems in the trilogy have a bouncy rhythm. Mr. Owen alternates rhyme schemes from free verse to couplets. His free verse often intermingles with rhyme. This enhances variety in form. In the trilogy, the reader meets fascinating fictitious characters: Peezis, Dr. Cerpeption, and a woman he calls Dear…What I like about his poetry is the skill he uses in playing with rhythm and rhyme…I also like his method of writing serious and humorous verse. He handles controversial subjects in a clever manner. I really enjoyed all the poems. This book is well worth the $9.95 investment and belongs to my category of will read again.
–Dean Henning, poeticvoices.com.

Book Review – Hospital Days: A Memoir by Hudson Owen

“I looked down from the observation dome into the operating room. It was empty except for a patient on her back on an operating table. Her ample girth was splayed across the operating table. Retractors had pulled back a large section of exposed flesh perhaps to a depth of four or five inches.”

Hospital Days: A Memoir by Hudson Owen is a fascinating read about the author’s experiences in several notable hospitals in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The book contains raw, emotion filled memories that pull the reader back in time, into the years of the Moon Landing and the Vietnam War. Hudson does not hold back on the details when he talks about his daily life in various hospitals, or about the liberal drug use that was commonplace at the time.

It’s been almost a half a century since those events took place, but the value of those experiences still shines through.

“A man stopped by the long table on the day side. He was middle aged and accompanied by his wife. He was picking up his meds. He looked me straight in the eye and said: “This is the face of madness.” I said nothing”

My thoughts:

I have had very little experience with hospitals in my life. I’ve only been admitted a few times for very minor issues. I am also far too young to have had any first hand experience or memories of the 1960s or the 1970s. Because of this, I was very interested in reading this particular memoir.

The read was fascinating. I loved how the author didn’t shy away from mentioning even the most insignificant details of his memories. And while some may consider that useless padding, I felt it added a real layer of interesting authenticity. Similarly, I applaud the author for his uncensored recollections of liberal drug use and the use of underground railways to escape potential legal repercussions due to war resistance.

“I remember those globes because they were the first sight I saw on my first acid trip.”

“Someone from MGH gave me word that the FBI was asking about me there. This was several months since I had refused induction into the Army. I had a late night conversation with a lawyer to see if there was any loophole in my case. Going down in the elevator he said: “Send me a postcard from Montreal.” “It’s too cold there,” I replied.”

The story isn’t what you’d call epic. It’s not what you’d call a grand adventure in life. It’s much more down to earth. It’s about a man trying to get by and find his place in the world. It’s the recollection of daily life that saw him move through many different cities and across two countries.

“These were tough days for me emotionally. I held the keys to the asylum, but the inmates were more secure. They were being shielded from the world. What an enviable position to be in!”

Because our memories tend to have blanks: missing events, names, times – it became quite the addictive read. You could never quite predict what event, what emotion or what characters would appear.

At times it did make the book a bit confusing to read, as certain story-lines ended abruptly or the author admitted to forgetting the details. It really is a shame how much of our own memories may be lost to the passage of time.

Quality:

The book is well written and flows quite well. There are a few minor grammatical hiccups here and there, but nothing to really hinder the reader.

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