2018 Missouri Author Series
A keen sense of place permeates Here on This Plain, the final collection by the late Jane Hoogestraat, winner of the John Ciardi Prize. Compiled before her 2015 death, this collection reflects the preoccupations that will be familiar to Hoogestraat’s readers—nature, time, the spirit—though they are here relocated from the prairie to the East Coast, Chicago, and southern Missouri.
The poems in Here on this Plain look unabashedly at mortality, as in “What Matters”:
There is a limit for everyone
on the number of summers
when the first firefly appears.
It is a poem that concludes with a haunting realization:
I who have lived so thoroughly
believing language constructs everything
learn late not everything can be read.
But it is not too late to read these careful constructions of a rich, contemplative poet at the apogee of her talent.