Wild Horses, Wild Dreams follows a trajectory from the early seventies to the present, giving a generous overview of Lindy Hough’s intellectual world and emotionally evocative language. The book samples poems from previously published books along with new poems. Selections from Changing Woman, Psyche, The Sun in Cancer, and Outlands & Inlands show a delight in language and the transformative nature of art, grounded in place and sensuous detail. The narrator of Changing Woman is a young mother in her early twenties, steeped in the detail of life, questioning and ironic as she puzzles out truth and authenticity in Maine. In Psyche, she maps the inner life of a Vermont college town and its inhabitants, in a conceit based on Helen of Troy. In The Sun in Cancer, Hough begins to show a strong involvement in Buddhism and consciousness as she explores life on the West and East coasts. In Outlands & Inlands, dreams, dance, and obsession map changing human dilemmas. In the new poems, Hough continues her account of an attempt to square external reality with inner, digging deeper into human dynamics as history folds in on contemporary concerns. Linguistic nuance, surprising syntax, and the grounding of the breath poetics of projective verse are all richly present here, and show why she has gained acclaim as an important modern poet.
About Lindy Hough
Lindy Hough was born in 1944 in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Smith College and earned an MFA from Goddard College. A journalist and dance critic, she has taught writing and literature in colleges and universities in Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and California. She cofounded the Berkeley-based mind/body/spirit publishing company North Atlantic Books with Richard Grossinger in 1974, and was publisher and editorial director for many years. She coedited Nuclear Strategy and the Code of the Warrior: Faces of Mars and Shiva in the Crisis of Human Survival and is the author of five books of poetry,including the recent Wild Horses, Wild Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1971–2010. For more information, visit her website at www.lindyhough.com.
“Desire in all its radical re/solve is the dancing focus and a lightning bug in Lindy Hough’s poetry history. It is the delight in her language of quest and discovery; the joy of intellect and raw nature, ‘faithful to mystery.’”
—Thurston Moore, poet and musician
“Lindy Hough follows her words along the path of the poem … I’m delighted to follow along, the poems picking a way through intellectual, cultural and personal histories. They are hers but they are mine too. These wild horses, these wild dreams—she’s become very wise in the making of her poems.”
—Bobby Byrd, publisher, author of White Panties, Dead Friends
“She constructs meaning from gardens, marriage, motherhood, meditation, and movement until there is ‘a self one can live with.’ Hough reminds us what it is to search and ultimately to find.”
—Summer Brenner, author I-5: A Novel of Crime, Transport, and Sex
“Hough speaks her life, full of quick motion and oblique meetings and desperate accommodations. She makes us remember that she is a dancer—the one kind of artist who has to be all over the place to be at home. For all the dance, there is Yankee toughness here … We’ve had to wait a long time for this collection of her work, and it’s worth the wait.”
—Robert Kelly, author of May Day
“Lindy Hough trained to be a dancer. How to dance sitting down, Olson said—a metaphor, if you will, for the work of the poet. But for Hough, as for Olson, the knowledge dance demands of the body and of the mind: its movement, the place it occupies, the one it moves in (which changes the terms of the equation) is integral to the rhythm and force—the virtu, Pound called it—of her poetry. 'Because we can't get a start/Anywhere but here,' she says. The poet takes us through the rhythms of everyday, the daily quotidian—stretching, listening to herself, feeling the floor where she stands, moving, testing. Hough’s work shows an ability to map what George Oppen called 'The thing seen each day, whose meaning has become the meaning and the color of our lives.'”
—Robert Buckeye, author of Still Lives
“Here’s the arc of a whole life given to poetry, thought, and feeling, what Lindy Hough has lived and imagined her way through up to now. The work in these pages is powerful, vital, daring, liberating, and essential. Read this book!”
—Bill Zavatsky, author of Where X Marks the Spot
“Wild Horses, Wild Dreams begins with poems that are a search for identity and answers to life’s fundamental questions. The volume ends with an acceptance of life itself, as in the captivating “Thursday Night at Saul’s.” In her musical language, Lindy Hough creates in her reader a passion for the wild horses of life, or unpredictable reality. This is an insightful gift from a griot and major poet who has traveled so far since the early seventies.
Through vivid details, Hough gives us snapshots of people—close family and friends, sometimes complete strangers; often the strangers are treated as though they are long lost friends, often those closest to her are seen as if for the first time. As a major poet, Lindy Hough demonstrates that memory, language, and personal history are the true sources of inspiration for contemporary living.”
—Cecil Brown, author of I, Stagolee
“Lindy Hough has written a remarkable book. Wild Horses, Wild Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1971-2010 is an investigation of the integrities that comprise a self, courageously. In early sections Hough wrestles with the disjunction of articulation and abstraction underneath which she swirls with feeling, addressing relationships in the past, her individuation from (and commitment to) society in all its variegation, including family and spiritual direction. By the time of the later New Poems, she knows to fend for herself’—earlier influences, poetic and spiritual, are absorbed. The language is direct and lyrical—a distillate.
'Insouciant Elephant' is a good example—'Wild mind leaping/tricking itself and you,/among dizzying mirrors/distancing you from everything/tearing yourself down by a zillion/fears--/Stop it. Reach to/something life-giving,/holy.'”
—David Gitin, author of The Journey Home
“Hough's poetry is contemplative and often hinges on nuance of language and of personality... After retiring in July after 36 years at the helm of North Atlantic Books, juggling work and family with her own creative life, it might be said that Lindy Hough has found a viable persona. She is excited to have the long-earned freedom to devote herself to a new daily struggle -- writing full time -- and to new artistic visions.”
“Wild Horses, Wild Dreams is an excellent compilation of poetry, highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Wild Horses, Wild Dreams is a retrospective of Hough’s 40 years as a poet and draws on works from her previous four poetry books as well as introducing 28 new poems. The book showcases Hough’s evolution from a young mother in her early 20s to an accomplished figure in the publishing industry, one who has contemplated rural life, the dynamics of a college town, dreams, dance, and religion in its many forms, including Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.”
"Lindy Hough writes poetry as if it is a second language she is fluent in. The words have a rich cadence and meaning, they flow so smoothly. I truly enjoyed this collection."
—Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club