Jenne' Andrews is an American poet. She has three published chapbooks including the recent Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press 2013.

A full-length collection, Reunion, Lynx House Press, was published in 1983; after a long hiatus to raise Golden Retrievers in Colorado, recent work has appeared in The Passionate Transitory, Belletrist Coterie, The Adirondack Review and Vox Populi, a journal of culture, politics and poetry published and edited by the august Michael Simms.

A bilingual collection of "Italiana," Bocca, Voce, Delirio, with translations by Lorenzo Luciani, will be released by Finishing Line at the end of 2016 and her latest collection, And Now, the Road, a finalist for the Autumn House prize in 2014, will be released by Salmon Poetry Ltd, Ireland, a highly regarded international house, Jessie Lendennie, Publisher, circa 2017.

Andrews holds the MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, is a literary fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was full-time Poet in Residence for the St. Paul Schools from '74-78. She lived in St. Paul from 1971-78 during the first wave of the Twin Cities literary renaissance, and spent the summer of 1973 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

The poet lives in northern Colorado's Poudre River Valley with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks; the couple has recently imported two British Golden Retrievers and expects a litter in June-- see the Ardorgold website for details. Contact: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Poem for Thursday and Friday Poetically

I have recently become captivated by some images of the young Eva Braun.  I have wondered what made it possible for her to end up with Adolf Hitler.  By all accounts he abused her but she surely understood what he was.  She has found her way into a little of my work: stay tuned.  

Both of the images are from the Getty collection, public domain, Eva Braun. First poem written from the second image, second poem from the first.  xj 

Shadow Song for Narcissus

“When Fraulein Braun first met the Fuhrer,” she writes, “she was seventeen and fresh from her convent school, attractive but not beautiful, not by any means stupid but limited by the tastes of her class and age; quite unsuited to bear the weight of history… Their relationship is worth investigating because his treatment of this one young woman -- first enthralling, then dominating and finally destroying her -- reflects in microcosm the way he also seduced and destroyed the German people.”  Angela Lambert, The Lost Life of Eva Braun.

Long before the Fuhrer kissed you beneath
the gaslights of Munich
You went alone down to the inlet in the Tyrol
Laying a blanket down in the salt flat
And in your white bathing suit, bent your back
Arching toward the sky.

The photograph then is of a girl glad to be alive
Like other girls, tan and muscular thighs
Surrendered to an auguring brevity of sun

All you knew before winter’s curtain fell
Over Europe--  the cove’s lulling haziness, that you 
were safe there, untainted by the monstrous hands
That would wake you and make of your heart
A shell closed against itself and love for all time.

Oh weight of infamy.
That you who were at his side with your red mouth
and diamonds when he ordered
Massacre on massacre, death march and gassings
More than a fact of history: an artifact 
terrible as an eyeball leering from black velvet--

No pealing carillon, no Bach reverberating peak to peak
Redeems any of this, the fine bone powder
That is ash, the sorrows annually turned over
In Bavarian loam—the Isar ribboning through Munich
Lit with the civility of the lamps

Along a civil path—as if
No one nearby had the shame-soap
In the cupboard, an onyx swastika
In a drawer in a silk handkerchief.
What of the girl you were,  follies
That led you away like a gazelle into the forest
Beset upon by Herr Wolff, in his marrow-heavy pelt
of need and loneliness

Perhaps the photos themselves are embedded
With fine dark cyanogenic powder
Occluding the sad premonitions
Of  dreaming mountains,
Thinning clouds.
To see that you exulted there, canoed those shallows
Let out like a fine Arabian mare from her stall
To cartwheel on the shore,
Narcissus among the water lilies
He, watching you from the Kehlstein eyre,
Waiting for you, your own
Sniper in the tower.

May 20, 2011

(AH used Herr Wolff as his name)


A face is streaked with lightning and then volcanic 
with rage.  Whose face.  Whose hand 
claws at the light-- someone drowns here.  Drowns

In sorrow over fallen robins and the orphans 
of spring.  Someone's word breaks.  It is that person's
face, the face of a liar, a good deed doer, a Christian 

And a scholar, a maypole and a martyr, a frivolity.  A stone 
black with guarded water.  A philistine, a shell 
arms amputated, love of salt unrequited.  

Clustered lemon-shaped lights over 
the bridge the wide bridge the city built 
to distract from its sins, fiascos, and snafus.  

Dylan sings in China to a bouquet of faces,
pale with obeisance.  A commune
and a thousand-year broken promise; felled

Sugarcane reprisal.  We choke on rice.  We divide
the fish among the multitudes; eyeless 
we wander forth into the hills. I was forced

To the roller coaster and made for terror.  I could
not cry out.  In the sacristy I hovered over the Host.  I
took God's body Into me and I retched with fear.  

I gave you my heart and you bent it into a mirror.  
You fractured the mirror and your face splintered.  I rose 
up over you, a lascivious vindicator, thinking

To annex you.  Die I begged of you, before
The Lippizans performed their caprioles for
the Eva Brauns of the night.


copyright Jenne' R. Andrews, Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts in Literature, 2011


Anonymous said...

I am blown away but how well you write =)

Dawn Potter said...

I like what you are working to do here; these are indeed compelling pictures, particularly the second one. Have you ever read Symborska's poem "Hitler's First Photograph"? It's chilling.

jen revved said...

Thanks, Dawn-- I'll look up that poem. best-- xxj

Victoria said...

Jen, your poetry is outstanding and the stories of Eva fascinating. I guess I'd overlooked this tragic figure and now I want to know more. Thanks for these.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Two excellent poems, coming at the topic from completely different angles. The second, for me, could stand alone, but the first evokes the picture so brilliantly. You tone and choice of word and image is exceptionally well-suited to the subject. I thought these lines superb:

What of the girl you were, follies
That led you away like a gazelle into the forest
Beset upon by Herr Wolff, in his marrow-heavy pelt
of need and loneliness...

Strange how even monster-men have women who love them.

James Rainsford said...

Whenever, I read your work Jen it is obvious and reassuring that I'm in the presence of a considerable intellect and very skilled poet. Both these poems are challenging and significant. I felt the first, was for me, the most accessible, but I'm sure the second will more than reward more careful reading. Thanks for your visits and comments upon my poems. They're truly appreciated. James.

jen revved said...

Victoria, Kerry, James-- in turn I must say that it means the world to have your input. There are so many of us deserving to be read, lingered over. We all keep each other going, yes? xxxj

jen revved said...

Re second poem-- it's in my new vein of being more allusive and elusive in my work-- to loosen up the narrative arc or the imagistic field or something-- I don't like to get to technical or fall into MFA-speak re my work-- but the goal in poems like the second one is to let meaning emerge from the accretion of images-- to stop making literal and linear sense...xxxj

Jingle Poetry said...

your words sing.
keep it up.


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