Soon After Rain

James Hoggard's new collection of poems is an elegant, highly energetic volume that takes its readers through a wealth of settings, times, and forms. As versatile a poet as there is, Hoggard time and again turns his attention to forms like pantoum and ghazals that heighten the readers' responses to the stories he tells in verse. In fact, one of the signal pieces in the volume shows Hoggard unearthing an old story about Odysseus' trying through a wealth of trickery to get out of going to the Trojan War. What the tale adds up to, however, is a deeply moving love story that seems genuinely contemporary. Running throughout this collection is a powerful use of environmental collapse as both theme and metaphor.