Saturday, July 19, 2008



Defiance by Hugh Fox
(Higganum Hill Books, Higganum, CT, 2007)

Hugh Fox is well known in the literary world for his poems and commentaries. I was fascinated to learn that he also has four books published on the archeological work he’s done in the Andes and Latin America. Fox has discovered Phoenician writing on pottery and in the ruins of the Mochica Indians of Peru and the Yopi Indians in Mexico; he’s discovered Sumerian writing on pots in ancient Bolivia. Is it any wonder, then, that his poetry resounds with a wisdom both primal and spiritual? His mind and spirit wander the world, hopeful and despairing, looking back on ghosts of the past and forward in search of proof that our existence will not end. Many of the poems here include French or German translations.

One critic described Hugh Fox as “a shaman who walks through walls…a poet who paints without inhibitions or games.” This excerpt from “Magna Mater” typifies Fox’s vision:
….I wait for the magic runes and
prehistoric musics when everyone,
like me today, believes that the earth was
The Magic Mother,
Nothing else.

And, again, in this excerpt from “The Wonderful, Beautiful Month of May” he looks to the past in search of a hopeful vision for the future:
I bear no grudge against war
everyday in the air like exhaust from a truck that
needs fixing, but the Rose, the Lily, the Dove, the Sun
vibrate so much fuller when you think there’ll be a

Fox contemplates prehistoric gods who bless and curse, protect and punish. He views the world with the vision of both primitive spirit and modern man, plumbs the depths of time to recollect his youth, dead friends and family. His visions are breathtaking, ripe with simple truths. This is a work to be read and reread, to be savored and celebrated. He gives us human impermanence and hopeful lessons from the blessings of an ancient Earth. As an example, consider this one last poem in its entirety, “Mother of Us All:”
Mother of grottos, rabbits and peacocks,
I have to invent a new language for you,
made out of cicada songs,
the sighs and whispers of the winds,
the flapping of wings,
the rain against the rich summer leaves,
the frail, fragile leaves of


Laurel Johnson is a Retired Registered Nurse and the author of four books. She is Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review and Review Editor for New Works Review. Her poetry and prose can be found online in various literary e-zines. She lives in Kansas with her husband of forty-plus years.

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