Hugh Ogden to be honored on Aug 5 with reading

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Hugh Ogden on Poet’s Island in Rangeley Lake, August 2006. Lovers of poetry will gather Sunday, August 5th, 6:00pm, at Ecopelagicon, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley for the 6th Annual Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry. (Photo: Peggy Yocom)

RANGELEY – On Sunday Aug. 5, lovers of poetry will gather at 6:00 pm on the lawn of the Ecopelagicon nature store, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley, to honor poet Hugh Ogden (1937-2006). Poets Ann Arbor and John Rosenwald, Farmington, will read from their work. Sponsored by Ecopelagicon, the event is free to all. Light refreshments will be served.

Members of the Ogden family will begin the evening by reading poems written by their father. Community members are invited to read a poem of Hugh’s or one of their own that attends to what meant so much to Hugh: the beauty and mystery of the world, especially Rangeley, and peace among all living things. Stories, music, and other tributes are also welcome. A sign-up sheet will be available at the start of the evening, since time will be limited. During the second part of the evening, poets Ann Arbor and John Rosenwald will read.

Ann Arbor will read at the 6th Annual Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry, Sunday 5 August at 6:00pm at Ecopelagicon, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley. Free. (Photo: Peggy O’Connell)

A photographer, novelist, and poet who grew up in Mexico, Maine, Ann Arbor worked in the local paper mill and attended college in Massachusetts. She has taught English to students from pre-kindergarten to graduate school, coached the Beloit College women’s basketball team, and served as Foreign Expert in China at Fudan, Nankai, and Zhejiang Universities. As a photographer, she has published work in national and international magazines ranging from The Chicago Tribune to Geo (Germany). Recent one-person shows include At Home in the World in North Carolina and Beauty: A Retrospective at the University of Maine Farmington, featuring more than seventy of her works and scheduled in conjunction with the honorary doctorate bestowed upon her by that university in May, 2009.

John Rosenwald will read at the 6th Annual Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry, Sunday 5 August at 6:00pm at Ecopelagicon, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley. Free. (Photo: Ann Arbor)

John Rosenwald serves as co-editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal ( and president of the Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation. Before his retirement in 2010 he was Professor of English for 34 years at Beloit College in Wisconsin. As Fulbright Professor of American Culture and Literature, he has taught in China at Fudan, Nankai, and Zhejiang Universities. Recent work involves collaborative translation of contemporary Chinese poets and organization of exhibitions of Chinese peasant artists. His poems and translations from German and Chinese have appeared in numerous journals. With his wife, Ann Arbor, he has been a frequent participant since its creation in 1975 at Robert Bly’s Annual Conference on the Great Mother and the New Father, for which he is the official historian. Among his honors are the 1996 Underkofler Outstanding Teacher Award, the 2003 Zhejiang Province West Lake Friendship Award, and an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 from the University of Maine Farmington.

Rangeley, its natural beauty and its people, fill Hugh Ogden’s seven books of poetry, especially Two Roads and this Spring, Bringing a Fir Straight Down, and his latest: Turtle Island Tree Psalms. Hugh first came to Rangeley in 1975, and he built a camp on what his children now call “Poet’s Island” on Rangeley Lake. In his book Turtle Island, the speakers of most of the poems are particular Rangeley trees, either rooted by the side of Route 17, in local cemeteries, or on Poet’s Island. He also wrote poems for local causes, such as the Rangeley Lake Heritage Trust’s stewardship of South Bog. In Rangeley, Hugh told friends, he “could hear the voices that call [him] to poems.”

Hugh Ogden taught poetry at Trinity College from 1967 until his death. He also inspired budding poets in nursing homes, prisons, and shelters. “He did this because he believed poetry could save lives,” Pamela Nomura, coordinator for the Poetry Center at Trinity College, explained. “He believed everyone’s voice was important [and that] poetry belonged to everyone.”

“Year after year I reach straight/ up, my trunk and voice grounded/ in incremental rhythms evergreen,” Hugh wrote in “Fir on the Oquossoc Shore, Singing.” In this spirit, friends of poetry, of Hugh Odgen, and of Ann Arbor and John Rosenwald will gather on August 5th. Please come. For more information, to join our e-mail list, and to contribute to the Fund that the Ogden family has established for this yearly event, please contact Peggy Yocom at 864-3421 ( or Linda Dexter at the Ecopelagicon 864-2771, and visit and and

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