Jenne' R. Andrews is an American poet. Her career began in 1969 with the mentorship of Robert Bly, former Colorado Poet Laureate Mary Crow, and the Canadian poet Tom Wayman. Her first published poem appeared in The Colorado Review in 1971. Her first collection was published by Robert Bly, she received a literary fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and she was appointed full-time Poet in Residence of the St. Paul Schools for four consecutive years before ever completing her Bachelor's Degree. She holds B.A., M.A. and M.F.A. degrees from Colorado State University.

As the poet was born in New Mexico to a mother of Victorian pioneer heritage and is a longtime resident of the Poudre River Valley in northern Colorado, The American West figures strongly in Andrews' oeuvre and gives rise to her most lyrical work. Her first collection of poetry in thirty years, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, appeared in November 2013, from Finishing Line Press. She is a finalist for the Autumn House 2014 Poetry Prize--one of the most prestigious publication prizes in the country; among an imposing field of twenty candidates for the prize out of a total of 500 submissions.

Her expanded chapbook Blackbirds Dance is available signed from the poet or from Finishing Line; follow the links for an order form. Order the Collection here. Contact Andrews as follows: Facebook as Jenne R Andrews and Twitter @jenandrewspoet. e-mail: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Poem: My Mother Carpets the Stairs -- for Magpie Tales!

My Mother Carpets the Stairs

She, one of three sisters,
was the first to carpet the stairs with a true
Lavar Kerman with bound
edges--spending its carmine
"open field" on heaviest treading,
so that over the years the center of each
swatch unraveled, became worn
from her nightly treks 
to and from our basement lair,

Such rugs graced hand-packed sand
floors in the villages outside
and as Americans
discovered them
in their way of waving the desultory
hand at the market in Marakesh,
rendered the more elegant,
the towering homes fronting the lake—

our specimen wide and luminous, 
central incarnadine flower, fading,
thick pile superbly shorn.

I remember when the starter castles
sprang from the mountain,
their front windows tricking geese
into impact and freefall.

We shouldn’t so colonize
the remaining wilds, that savannah
where the Bonabo
washes her face in the stream
after making love,
tail still kinked with pleasure.

But Mother would have done well
in Borneo, bivouacking a garrison
of skeptical apes, martialing
a hurried route tree to tree,
the one-arm swinging to take cover--

If she could have brought one thing,
only to the jungle
it would have been the scarlet
Kerman; tucked by now into the crook
of an acacia—nearly indiscernible
as something made by a human hand.

She could not know how it would smell
of civilization and ruin
or in what benign tongue
the compliments of the canopy
would be proffered at a safe remove.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2014

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Poem: Guild

Many thanks to Tess Kincaid for the meme up at Magpie Tales...

Ressurection II 1945, Sir Stanley Spencer 

Mouthing delight
at the patchwork fervor of September leaves,
piety's handmaidens meet to piece;
giddy with ambition,
they splay the Star of Bethlehem quilt out
with its half-built rainbow of spokes.

Each voluble quilter wants to go to heaven;
stitching, several speak the Word.
Then they break bread,
faces etched with Old World craqueleur,
suffused chatter fading into dusk
like the Tenebrae of dreaming doves.

With their brethren in laity
they throng the unschooled choir
and rehearsing the requiem foreign
to their plain mouths,
whisper enmity at an arriviste--
a young lyric soprano in the front row.

How much they hate her
for the larksong she has bestowed
upon the congregation and the clan!

So it is they put away
their piecing, the luminous quilt embroidered
with Episcopal Women of Hastings,
to be presented in a ribbon-cutting
for the new children’s clinic on Raintree Road.

Spotting the willowy thing praying
alone in the nave,
they group, waiting for her,
fingering the sterling crosses at their throats,
their dark straw hats skewered through
with faux-pearl pins,
casting her out of Babylon
with envy's ruthless stones.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Poem: Dining Car, for The Mag and Beyond.....

Please note that my newest collection of poetry, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press, with endorsements from literary luminaries Jim Moore, Dawn Potter and Patricia Kirkpatrick and cover art by John Sokol, may be ordered now; books will be shipped in October. Signed copies may be purchased from me directly; e-mail jenneandrews2010@gmail.com . To read an advance review by the lovely Tess Kincaid, click here.  My new poem follows.

Dining Car

Mother’s old notes say we took the train
to Flagstaff  my second summer—
that we sat in the dining car and I looked out
mouthing vowels at the desert--  
even then in awe of it, the blue seas of sand,
red sandstone buttes jutting at heaven.

She said the black conductor took our tickets,
his face mooney and beaming;
that we had a Sterling service at breakfast
monogrammed RGL--Rio Grande Line—
poached eggs, quartered cantaloupe
for just the two of us.

Father was off in khaki in the woods
at the foot of San Francisco peak,
moving with the others like indolent
ghosts penciled into the Ponderosa,
harvesting them of the dwarf mistletoe
that lay popping in Petrie dishes
like fractured pearls.

But it was the train, the thunderous rolling on
like a cinematic dream, wheels
throwing off sparks, long high whistle
warning Black Angus cows to move
or be flattened, out on the Pajarito Plateau
where the tracks lengthened
to a vanishing point.

All of it kept me sleepless
that a body could be in motion, arise,
float and fly.
That there could be holidays and reunions--
escape, the imagination winging
alongside keeping pace with the locomotive’s
kite of steam,
smelting a mirage of freedom down
to palpable world.

 copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Poem for Magpie Tales and Beyond: No Passing Zone

As noted above, my first collection in thirty years, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, due out in October from Finishing Line Press, may be preordered; visit the blog I've set up for it here....

Photo - Steven Kelly 
No-Passing Zone

That winter, cabin fever
drove us out of Albuquerque,
so that after eight hours
on Route 66, we found ourselves
on a half-tarred road notched
into the mountain,

small family grafted to one another
by need and grief
like an ebony four-leaf clover
pendant, pieces that would never
break away from the whole.

In full-blown DT’s our mother
rode shotgun,
young brother with me in the back
of the US Forest Service Chevy sedan
leased to our father

for such forays through high country
to tally beetle-killed trees,
and collect the unwelcome dwarf mistletoe
gleaming in the clefts
of the ponderosa.

We nosed up into the season
of deep snow
on icy switchback shoulders
you didn’t dare pass slower traffic on;

chain-smoking, my mother clung to my father
and I held my brother’s hand on the back seat,
now and then looking down
at the slate drop-off
where buzzards rode the downdraft
in their gyre over mule deer carrion.

Down the other side
Navajo country, the Rez:
and the government cabin
we had provisioned ourselves
for, unpeeled tongue and groove,
hand-hewn and welcoming,
rocking back against red cliffs:
the nearby fields were pocked with lamb-heavy
woolly Churro ewes, heads down
in December’s diffident wind.

A fire burning high with a pinon knot,
a roast leg of mutton
left for us in the freezer by the ranger
would lift our spirits;
we, the brave children,
issue of territorial stock,
tumbled into the cabin’s gloom,
but she, slamming down scotch,
held up for a mere hour.                 

Like the last aspen leaf of an early autumn,
she shook at the hearth, sparks snapping
up the chimney,
clawing at her own arms;

You have to take me back.
I have to go back.

This was every year’s gift,
new ordeal tied up with a ribbon
sangre de Cristo red--
a junket ruined
by her fear, this ungrown thing
we had for a mother

no one had been able to fix,
not even with vaunted shock treatments
at Nazareth Sanitarium
on the edge of the city
so that we could be the children again,

not the parents, not the ones
holding our breath over an ice-slick pass
at dusk, boring through a blizzard

my father back on duty
at his other job, putting out fires from
the ashes she left like bread crumbs
wherever she wandered the night long
in weeping disarray.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

The old Route 66, and the Painted Desert Trading Post ruin...

Route 66 into the Navajo Reservation 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Publication Announcement!

Dear Friends:

As noted above, I am in the throes of the pre-publication ordering period for my first collection in thirty years, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press. Without pre-publication orders there will be no press run, and therefore I hope you will add this, my offering to the world of fifteen comparatively recent poems, to your library.

My friend Samuel Peralta, a renowned poet in his own right, has paid me the highest of compliments:  "If you care about poetry, buy this book!"

Cover art by John Sokol, my favorite among his mixed media pieces, "Mirage."

Jim Moore, Invisible Strings, Graywolf Press, and Dawn Potter, Director, Conference on Poetry and Teaching, The Frost Place, How the Crimes Happened, CavanKerry Press, have lovely things to say about my work on the back cover of the collection.

Please visit the chapbook's site and click on the link to Preorder Forthcoming Titles from Finishing Line.  I will periodically post work from the collection there and new work from me is coming soon to La Parola!

Here is a poem from Blackbirds Dance...

According to Luke

for Tom Wayman

I heard the angels say
Fear not, but I fear
all things in all ways.
I fear the brittle lassitude
of my hands, the encroaching
frost over the mind,
the dark glass one candle
can’t pierce.
I fear another day, summer’s
greenness, the threat of new
their garnet wings
among the cattails.

I quake, at night—
my heart’s staccato code to God.
I fear dust, fate, my own face,
my sins,
the flash of homemade bombs,
hollow words,
the imperatives of silence.

I am afraid
for my remaindered dreams,
my lost years,
the knot in my thigh, the lump
in my throat,
that I may never again call out
a name, my eyes to another’s--

I shrink from death,
heights, cold and deep water,
my flagging soul, my art,
my brother,
limping on like a beggar
through powdering leaves,
while all volition fades
to a spent seraphic light
on the far horizon.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Love Poem--

After A Long Reticence

After A Long Reticence

Because the luminous aging body
is unreliable,
because its stirrings come in the deeps
of night,
we say that we will make love
tomorrow; you will take
our medicinal Eucharist;

Take, hold, devour that one
gathering herself for transfiguration
 in the burning spring.

We say to each other,
it is time again; risen bread has not
forgotten how it was made, the fresh
flour plump and musky with yeast,
the tang of the wild honey:

nor are the old cottonwoods
dormant; they surge, sprout
into leaf—then, gift-laden bees, freefall
of seed, amber sweat on the boughs.

We hold each other, warm
with promise; it will be tomorrow

when I will bury my face
in your neck
and your fingers surge in me
and my hand over your hand

so that I am luminous again,
the seraphic body
with its tremulous wings, aloft.

How is it that winter
has melted away?
Who made camp
along a river
that holds its breath?

We say to each other,

We are violins in the key
of yearning.  Tomorrow
we will be gypsies at a campfire
with half-strung bows.

Your long fingers, your
virile calling to me
even as I cup you in my hand,
as if I have caught the sweet
rain of Spring, as if we are
liquefying pears
or nectarines with melting flesh--

What is this country of desire
where we are now
after decades of reticence,
each one wondering

if there were a bend
in the river and if you took
that bend, would there
be white water and would
the exalted sinew
of the singing body hold.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews June 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Poem: Carbon-Dating, for Magpie Tales and Beyond...

Ponytail - by Last Exit


"Everywhere...the stench of the informer."

Vladimir Lenin

When certain fields are burned
plumes from the chaff ascend,
writing across the sky--
oh brave loquacity of smoke.  
The stories it would tell:

of the woman painter in Mexico, sitting up
at the moment of her own cremation;
of the terrible folly of the perpetrators:
the ethereal vapor climbing
with its aching cargo of souls.

The fields remember this
even after Auschwitz or
the burning of the bodies
during the pogrom at Kiev.

Once a violinist went to Dachau
to serenade its ghosts.  He walked quietly
through the showers and out
to the gardens flourishing from
the calcium infusing the roots.
He had chosen a Bach partita; he wept
as he played. 

Now memorial lilies flay afternoon light;
they have opened like white wounds,
bells mutely warning of incoming
hostile fire,
grey metastatic nodes in the center;
their scent is like smoke,
with its poetry of sorrows.


The earth remembers
and narrates with her rising 
clouds of ash, its filigree of wisps
on cold wide fields of gray sky.  
Limpid clouds
too aggrieved to rain.  
A translucent atmosphere
that hates being breathed in
and out again.

We clasp hands
in the comforting dark
of our lair.  Mist
rises from our skin
damp from making love.

The flames of ardor
die back to ash;
the smoke of desire and the smoke
of atrocity wind together
like filmy hands with white
wrists, a braiding of the terrible
with the holy. 

Great flocks of tundra swans
see the burning of the fields:
they flee the acrid air,
soaring until they are pinpricks,
unrecognizable--a contrail of absence--

until everything the heart
cannot bear has forgotten
what it was.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2013

To participate in The Mag, a weekly writing meme hosted by the lovely Tess Kincaid, click here.