Returning to Kindness: What the River and the Poems of Linda Hogan Teach Us


Women have been gathering at the river for thousands of years. It is where we have traditionally  come to greet the sun, to cleanse and purify ourselves, to find inspiration, to tell our stories, to create a vision for the future.

Torrey House Press, the publisher of Linda Hogan's newest book of poetry, The History of Kindness, writes that these new poems “explore new and old ways of experiencing the vagaries of the body and existing in harmony with earth's living beings.”

"There is no one like Linda Hogan," writes author Terry Tempest Williams. "I read her poetry to both calm and ignite my heart. A History of Kindness is a series of oracles rising from the page born out of a life of listening, feeling, responding."

For women, living in harmony with our bodies, and with nature, does not always come easily. We are often encouraged by society to embrace a lifestyle that is everything but harmonious with nature. We are led to believe that harmony with our bodies is not possible--that we must somehow change or alter ourselves, especially as we enter the era of the wise woman, the elder woman.


On the river, we are allowed to embrace the relationship we once had with our physical selves. We are invited by the river, and by the wilderness from which the river springs, to remember what we knew when we were young--that we are not separate from nature. We are born of, and a part of, all that is natural.

Kindness on the river takes no effort. Nor does laughter. The river invites gentleness, playfulness, thoughtfulness--and yes, kindness. We are reminded that one of the greatest pleasures available to us is the pleasure we receive when we give perform small acts of kindness, the most important of which is listening to one another, of honoring each other's stories through the act of attentive listening.

This year on the river, I am gifting the women with copies of Linda's book, The History of Kindness. We will carry her words with us as we float through the landscape, and we will be reminded of the great circle of women and of how our stories spiral inward even as they spiral outward.



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