|Poetic Pilgrimages: James Hogg at Eighty
Edited by Wolfgang Görtschacher, William Oxley, Glyn Pursglove, and Andreas Schachermayr
March 2011. 152 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-34-3
As founding Director of the University of Salzburg Press, JAMES HOGG published, between 1971 and 1998, over 550 books in his "Salzburg Studies in English Literature" series. One strand of his publishing programme was devoted to the (re)publication of British poets, neglected by metropolitan publishers. From 1994 to 2000 he also co-edited the little magazine The Poet's Voice.
Between 1971 and 1996 Hogg taught at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg. His many academic publications - more than 400 to date - comprise studies in such diverse fields as contemporary British literature, Elizabethan literature, Romantic poetry and Restoration drama. But Hogg has also acquired a worldwide reputation in a completely different field: as historian of the Carthusian Order of which he was a member from 1962 to 1968. In his series "Analecta Cartusiana", founded in 1970, he has edited and published more than 300 volumes.
His work in the field of Carthusian studies brought him two gold medals in 2006, one from the Federal State of Lower Austria and one from the Bishop of St. Pölten. The same year the President of France made him Knight of the Légion d'honneur. In 2007 the Queen of England officially acknowledged his great services to academic research. In December 2009 the Vatican made him a Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester.
In 1996 Wolfgang Görtschacher and I put together a substantial anthology of poetry and prose, Summoning the Sea, to mark Professor James Hogg's retirement from a distinguished teaching career at the University of Salzburg, and in recognition of the contribution he had made to British poetry by his work as a publisher. Shortly before travelling to Salzburg, to attend a conference on contemporary poetry, and to present the dedicatee with his (unexpected) book, I happened to be in conversation with a historian at my home university in Wales. Telling him that I was going to Salzburg a few days later, I explained why, talking of Professor Hogg's work as publisher of many volumes of poetry and, indeed, of a great many volumes of literary criticism and scholarship. "Strange", said my historian friend, "that there should be two people called James Hogg based in Salzburg - did you know that there's another one who has produced many volumes of a series called Analecta Carthusiana, a series devoted to the history of the Carthusian Order?" I explained that there was - in several senses of the phrase - only one James Hogg; my James Hogg was also the man behind Analecta Carthusiana. The historian marvelled at what energy, commitment and stamina must have been involved in such an achievement. There is only one James Hogg - he is splendidly unique. At that conference, incidentally, Professor Hogg was presented with two tribute volumes, Summoning the Sea and another of academic essays written in his honour. There was also a third, honouring his work in Carthusian studies. To receive one Festschrift says something about the respect in which a man is held, but to receive three ...
And now here is a fourth, timed for the recipient's eightieth birthday, a gift from the poetic community for whom he has done so much over the years. As the founding Director of the University of Salzburg Press from 1970 to 1998 and co-editor of The Poet's Voice from 1994 to 2000, James Hogg oversaw the publication of a large number of books by a diverse list of poets, books which made available to English readers (and to European students and readers of English poetry) a body of work largely overlooked, or available only in somewhat fugitive editions, back in Britain. One strand of the publishing programme was devoted to the (re)publication of work by poets whose early UK reputations had faded somewhat and who had later been neglected by the metropolitan publishers. [...]
Glyn Pursglove, "Preface"
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Excerpts from Poetic Pilgrimages
for James Hogg
Like old redskins in brooding firelight
Their faces full of wisdom's distance
And feathered ceremonies of forgotten magic
The parrots perch in their cages of scorn:
Nut wasters and breakers their pirate beaks fright
Unfamiliar handlers who look askance
At such captive splendour characteristic
Of the forever untamed and jungle born.
A dream of rain forests and Quetzalcoatl
In zoos and drawing rooms of alien lands
They raise their turkey-claws in savage salutation
Of a tamer sun and wildly screech-call
The dawn, disturbing for a moment deeper fronds
Of hearing hearts with primaeval consternation.
Look ever lovely as becomes you best!
Dark is the world that sees not your fair face,
And dark the eye not lit up by your grace,
Right dull the ear that heeds not your behest,
When with your gentle voice itself is blest.
The rose's scent upon your two lips plays,
Your secret breasts like two cool violet sprays,
Or honey bags the bee lays in his nest.
In you there's fragrance of another clime,
That is not born of nature's chemistry,
Or from sweet woods or fields or gardens sprung;
In you, the presence of unmoving time,
The dimpling shade of an enormous tree
Whose every leaf is like a whispering tongue.
Pratomagno, 26th September 1995