Savings, Linda Hogan’s fifth collection of poems, continues and expands themes initiated in her earlier works and provides a perspective on the development of the poet’s work in the ten years since the publication of her first collection. The poems in Savings tend to be discursive and low-key, and many are longer than the poet’s characteristic work in other books. In contrast to her usual free verse forms, in this book Hogan experiments with form, as in the loose unrhymed couplets of “The New Apartment: Minneapolis.”
Hogan’s thematic preoccupations include a sense of hardship endured and overcome in her personal, family, and tribal history. She also includes in her writing a wider consideration of global issues of justice, care, and responsibility. She uses a characteristic method of building from image to image and sometimes grafts an image to more abstract expression, as in “The Legal System.” In this poem the reader hears an ambiguous voice suggesting that the internalization of a “legal system” within the individual reflects and predicts the judgments and prejudices of the individual and of society.
The poems in Savings reach out from Chickasaw history and the Oklahoma landscape to embrace allusions to major contemporary injustices. Abuse of women, alcoholism, class hostility, the holocaust, refugees from oppressive regimes, undocumented immigrants, poverty, and bigotry are mentioned. In...
(The entire section is 435 words.)