Poetry, Reviews

Vicki Hearne in Poetry

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Vicki Hearne’s (1946-2001) posthumously published Tricks of the Light: New and Selected Poems has received a positive review in this month’s issue of Poetry magazine by critic Joel Brouwer. Praising her work for transforming her practical knowledge of the dogs and horses she trained into a unique philosophical exploration of “language and the mind,” Brouwer writes:

Nearly all of Hearne’s writing, regardless of genre or audience, drew upon her work as a professional horse and dog trainer. But to think of this poet in those terms alone would be as misguided as thinking of E.O. Wilson as an entomologist. Communicating with animals helped Hearne to think through a variety of philosophical concerns, particularly questions of representation. What stories do we tell ourselves about our relationships with the animals we live and work with, feed and eat, love and fear? What really happens, and what do we imagine happens, when two species with fundamentally differing consciousnesses and languages—people and dogs, say—attempt to communicate? Above all, how might our investigation of such questions lead us to more general insights about representation and reality?

The review concludes: “Hearne’s verse is … rigorously intelligent, rhetorically supple, wholly unafraid of complexity, formally deft, and, … liable to begin to glow with tricks of light.”
Read the review on the Poetry magazine website.