The spare and subtle poems of Nina Bogin’s third collection map personal territory – places of memory and love as much as of language and geography. An American writing in her adopted France, in the eastern border region close to Switzerland and Germany, she examines – sometimes obliquely, sometimes directly – the traces history leaves on the land and its inhabitants, while also exploring her own, sometimes uneasy, relationship to time and place in a mother tongue that has undergone French and German influences, connecting her historically to the Middle Europe of her ancestors.
‘Nina Bogin knows about what Tony Harrison called “the silence round all poetry”. She has inherited the gift of mindful speech bequeathed by Denise Levertov and, in a noisy world where most of us speak and write too quickly, she is a lesson and a delight.’
– Julia Casterton, Ambit
‘Nina Bogin’s poems are impeccable in craft, elegant in their economy, and emotionally profound; they are arrows, swift and quiet, hitting their mark, sinking deep. There is no better poet of her generation, and few as good’
– Denise Levertov
Your words trouble the silver twilight.
Mid-winter, and we are all alive.
But the mountains have moved closer,
their violet folds like a shawl
we might wrap around us
to keep out the cold.
A first star appears, and immediately
I’m drawn to it like a charm.
If I care hard enough, as the sky deepens
into a fragile, indigo calm,
perhaps it will keep us from harm.
But tonight I can’t be fooled.
All day, I’ve carried your bad news
like a stone in my pocket
I keep fingering
with my gloves on.