Jim Mays

James Hogan decided early on that he did not want a conventional set of friends or supporters of the ordinary literary kind and has succeeded beyond all expectation. He, the mildest and most modest of men, has published all manner of poems, plays. fiction and social criticism. It adds up overall to a formidable corpus that exceeds common understanding, and has nonetheless escaped the reputation of an estranged voice in the wilderness. He is the unheard Boudou of his generation: that is, the unruly hero of Jean Renoir’s 1932 film, who is played by Michel Simon. He resists every attempt to assimilate his virtues and casts a challenging light on what we like to think of as our guiding principles.

For example, I know of no modern poem that confronts the pain and inevitability of death so frankly as his m.emoire of Margaret Hogan (Duras Press, 2014). Hogan has kept writing throughout his lifetime, ignoring the lack of attention he has received, pressing forward with the single aim of reaching utterly novel solutions to unique literary problems. He has shunned popular acclaim as the curse of the age, has ploughed simple furrows in unbelievably courageous ways, and reached improbable solutions beyond the normal wit of man. He has only asked to be read as he writes: simply and with care.

The silence that currently surrounds his achievement is stunning. Its vibrancy is electric and it could only have been contrived by one who had turned his back on those who lost the plot while they devoted their souls to idleness. He has left them chattering on the strand while he holds to the true cause. A happy eightieth, James: enjoy the day!  You might have to die before you gain the reputation you deserve and you will take your place as an Irish writer of singular distinction.

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The Duras Press

The Duras Press