Light in Hogan’s “Black Hills Survival Gathering 1980”


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Essay #: 060629
Total text length is 7,696 characters (approximately 5.3 pages).

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The beginning:
Light in Hogan's “Black Hills Survival Gathering 1980”
“Black Hills Survival Gathering 1980” is Linda Hogan’s acknowledgement of how close she feels to extinction, not just as an American Indian, but as a member of humankind. Hogan, her husband and daughters, camped with thousands of others on a private ranch near a B-52 runway during the anti-nuclear International Survival Gathering of 1980. From her attendance at this event, Linda Hogan was inspired to publish a collection of poetry, Daughters I Love You, of which “Black Hills Survival Gathering 1980” is one. This contextual background informs the reading of the poem, particularly with respect to the poet’s use of light throughout.
The poem starts “Bodies on fire/the monks in orange...
The end: washes over them all as the natural sunlight once again brings life and hope. In the poem, Hogan used to light to represent life and death, hope and fear. In its natural permutations light was a positive, hopeful element in the poem; unnatural, man-made light was a destroyer. Hogan’s poem, is once again, a testament to the restorative, life-giving power of nature, not just to American Indians, but to humankind. It is also a warning to humans that the destruction or twisting of resources into unnatural uses will ultimately lead to humankind’s own destruction.
Bruchac, J (ed.). (1983). Songs from this Earth on turtle’s back. New York : The Greenfield Review Press.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. (1977). Ceremony. New York : Penguin Books.