She has a painter's eye for composition and colour, and a naturalist's keen sense of observation. This is a book that delights and dazzles with its truths, and proves Rogers a poet to be reckoned with.
Heart Turned Back is about looking and listening; about trying to understand not just humans, but animals and plants and rocks. The poems come from a slow and painstaking education in the things of things world, from learning that we have only a limited time to comprehend, then translate and transform that comprehension into words. The poems love language; they are passionate yet restrained, written in both form and in free verse.
Bertha Rogers's poems appear in journals and anthologies and in the collections Even the Hemlock: Poems, Illuminations, and Reliquaries; The Fourth Beast; A House of Corners; and Sleeper, You Wake. Her translation of Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, was published in 2000; and her translation of the Anglo-Saxon riddle-poems from the Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, will be published in 2010. In 2006, Rogers received an A. E. Ventures Foundation Grant for excellence in writing and visual arts and for contributions to the field. In 2003 she received a Ludwig Vogelstein grant. In 1992, she founded Bright Hill Press, Inc. with her husband, Ernest M. Fishman.