Laurel Ann Bogen
        Laurel Ann Bogen has been a powerful presence in the Southern California poetry world for many years, teaching, conducting workshops, being a mentor to many poets. She has been teaching poetry and performance at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 1990 and her work has appeared in over a hundred journals and anthologies, including Chiron Review, Stand-Up Poetry, Jacaranda Review, Pearl, Solo and Gargoyle. Her latest book is Washing a Language.
        I have been reading it and I have been tremendously inspired.  I have to admit I hadn’t written anything in a long time, but after reading this book—especially the poems, “Vocation of the Chair” and “Closing the Door on the Icebox of Zero Possibilities,” I began to get excited about the idea of writing poetry again, because these poems in their subtlety and sly inventiveness open up infinite possibilities of what language and in particular poetry, can do. Laurel Ann Bogen is difficult to categorize—so I won’t.  Hers is a world loaded with historical and pop culture references, personal drama, political commentary, memories of the tumultuous decades of her youth, the quirkiness and loneliness and excitement of Southern California life, and much more. Laurel Ann Bogen is also a noted performer of poetry and her work takes on a new dimension when she recites it.  


Vocation of the Chair

It longs to be the one
who holds you, keeps you
from falling, its curved legs
shapely as a bride.
The chair that would be saint.
martyr, acolyte. Your little
sins of omission and false pride
cannot sway it -- the chair believes
in you. It grows taller in the dark.
Soon it will fill the room,
its cushion of praise all you need
in the crude and faithless light.


First published in Washing a Language, Red Hen Press, 2004. 


2009 Laurel Ann Bogen
Laurel Ann Bogen was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the December 2009
Second Sunday Poetry Series.