“Wild Horses, Wild Dreams is an excellent compilation of poetry, highly recommended.” —Midwest Poetry Review, July 11, 2011 -The Poetry Shelf

Wild Horses, Wild Dreams
Lindy Hough
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
9781556439629, $22.95,

We are at constant odds with our own nature. Wild Horses, Wild Dreams is a collection of thirty years of poetry from Lindy Hough, compiling her works from 1971 to 2010, chronicling her maturity as a woman, a mother, and the world around her, life, and everything else. Wild Horses, Wild Dreams is an excellent compilation of poetry, highly recommended. “A Sunday Song”: Out of the daily/Out of the sacred day/Out of the rain blessing the day’s fall/Out of the lilacs/bending to brush your lips with sweet water-drops,/Out of the highway where we came to here/Out of the book we have learned the law/Out of our time/we learned to use/what was at hand & in us/Out of our cosmology we perceived/the dance between us and its rhythms/Out of your mind I seem spun/wake surprised at my separate existence.

Praise for Wild Horses, Wild Dreams (April 5, 2011)

The poems in Wild Horses, Wild Dreams are prismatic, refracting decades in a taut phrase, social movements in an incident, insights in an image. To follow the arc of Hough’s life through these poems is deep pleasure and deeply instructive. “…all we live for is perhaps pulling things/apart to see how they are made– & trying to approximate another’s desires.” This wise poet pulls apart experience—from giving birth to weeding perennials to insomnia—all filtered through the lens of fully engaged consciousness.

Louise Steinman, author The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War

Lindy Hough’s late poems fulfill this book, and bring to mind all her earlier purposes, whittled down now to an extraordinary quiet sense of presence.  Nothing sanctimonious; nothing itching for more.  Just more this.  Reading in sequence poems from many years of her life, we overhear the promises she made—to language, to say true.  It’s not easy to say true when your fable is everyday life.  Her life is full of quick motion, oblique meetings, desperate accommodations. She trained as a dancer— the artist who is only at home all over the place.  For all the dance, there is Yankee toughness here, the chilling blunt beauty of What you have most in common is
being here

We’ve had to wait a long time for this collection of her work, and it’s worth the wait.

Robert Kelly, poet and Professor of Literature, Bard College

Lindy Hough trained to be a dancer, as did Olson before her.  How to dance sitting down he said—a metaphor, if you will, for the work of the poet.  But for Hough, as for Olson, the knowledge dance demands of the body and of the mind: its movement, the place it occupies, the one it moves in (which changes the terms of the equation) is integral to the rhythm and force—the virtu, Pound would call it—of her poetry.   “Because we can’t get a start/Anywhere but here,” she says. The poet takes us through the rhythms of everyday, the daily quotidian—stretching, listening to herself, feeling the floor where she stands, moving, testing.  Hough’s work shows an ability to map what Oppen called “The thing seen each day, whose meaning has become the meaning and the color of our lives.”

–Robert Buckeye, author of Still Lives

Here’s the arc of a whole life given to poetry, thought, and feeling, what Lindy Hough has lived and imagined her way through up to now. The work in these pages is powerful, vital, daring, liberating, and essential. Read this book!

—Bill Zavatsky, author of Where X Marks the Spot

Wild Horses, Wild Dreams begins with poems that are a search for identity and answers to life’s fundamental questions. The volume ends with an acceptance of life itself, as in the captivating “Thursday Night at Saul’s.” In her musical language, Lindy Hough creates in her reader a passion for the wild horses of life, or unpredictable reality.  This is an insightful gift from a griot and major poet who has traveled so far since the early seventies.

Through vivid details, Hough gives us snapshots of people—close family and friends, sometimes complete strangers; often the strangers are treated as though they are long lost friends, often those closest to her are seen as if for the first time. As a major poet, Lindy Hough demonstrates that memory, language, and personal history are the true sources of inspiration for contemporary living.

Cecil Brown, author of I, Stagolee

Lindy Hough has written a remarkable book. Wild Horses, Wild Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1971-2010 is an investigation of the integrities that comprise a self, courageously. In early sections Hough wrestles with the disjunction of articulation and abstraction underneath which she swirls with feeling, addressing relationships in the past, her individuation from (and commitment to) society in all its variegation, including family and spiritual direction. By the time of the later New Poems, she knows to fend for herself’—earlier influences, poetic and spiritual, are absorbed. The language is direct and lyrical—a distillate.

“Insouciant Elephant” is a good example—”Wild mind leaping/tricking itself and you,/among dizzying mirrors/distancing you from everything/tearing yourself down by a zillion/fears–/Stop it. Reach to/something life-giving,/holy.”

David Gitin, author of The Journey Home


New on the Shelf: Wild Horses, Wild Dreams by Lindy Hough, published April 5, 2011 <>

Interview on writing and WHWD: SF on-line magazine litseen, April 10, 2011

Interview on North Atlantic Books in litseen, March 29, 2011

SF Weekly Profile, April 11, 2011

Interview with Lindy Hough, Smith ’66, by Sarah Cross Mills, San Francisco -Marin Smith Club Newsletter,  2005