RANGELEY – On Sunday Aug. 2, lovers of poetry will gather at 6 pm at Ecopelagicon nature store, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley, to honor poet Hugh Ogden (1937-2006). Maine poet Carolyn Locke will read from her work. Sponsored by Ecopelagicon, the annual 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. 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, Carolyn Locke will read. She is the author of two poetry collections—Always This Falling (2010) and The Place We Become (Maine Authors Publishing, 2015)—as well as Not One Thing: Following Matsuo Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior (2013).
A graduate of Bates College and a MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College, she taught English, creative writing, and humanities classes at Mount View High School for many years. She has received several Fulbright teacher travel grants to Japan, China, and Morocco. A presenter at the Belfast Poetry Festival, she has published poems in a variety of publications, including Puckerbrush Review, Off the Coast, Bangor Daily News, and Kyoto Journal.
Locke’s love for Maine’s people and places shines in the titles of her poems, such as “Pickering Cove, Deer Isle” and “While Driving To Work on Route 220.” And, she also takes her readers on travels to Africa and Asia in “Walking the Streets of Essaouira” and “At Lingyin Temple.” Former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Scholl praises Ms. Locke’s poems, for within them “transformation can occur through travel” and “deep attention” is paid to the “sacredness of the natural world.” Copies of Ms. Locke’s books will be available for sale during the evening.
The solace and sacredness of place links the work of Carolyn Locke and Hugh Ogden. Rangeley, its natural beauty and its people, fill Hugh Ogden’s seven books of poetry, especially Two Roads and this Spring and Bringing a Fir Straight Down.
Ogden first came to Rangeley in 1975, and he built a camp on what his children now call “Poet’s Island” in Rangeley Lake. In his last book, Turtle Island Tree Psalms, the speakers of the poems are particular Rangeley trees, either rooted by the side of Route 17, in local cemeteries, or on Poet’s Island. Hugh 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.”
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, Hugh Odgen, and Carolyn Locke will gather on Aug. 2. Please come. For more information, to join our e-mail list, or to contribute to the fund set up for this event by the Ogden family, contact Peggy Yocom at 864-3421 (myocomATgmu.edu) or Linda Dexter at Ecopelagicon, 864-2771. Visit http://ecopelagicon.com and http://hughogden.com and http://margaretyocom.com and http://carolynlocke.com.
– Submitted by Peggy Yocom