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 .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Posted for One Shoot Sunday

This photo by the UK photographer Fee Easton.

Psalm for the Body

This is what it is to be me, a woman writer.  I am my body.  When I say I, it is not a conquering with language.  It is a dispersement of intensities and energy over a vast white field.  Lidia Yuknavitch

I am the body dwelling in the night’s green world.  I caught a glimpse of a foaling mare in the headlights and I leaned against the fence, pressing down with my body, my pelvis aching, urging her on.

The foal slipped from her in its white sac.  At the sac’s tear, the wet head, and then in the dark, the mare’s voice, a low fluttering and humming, a greeting. 

I knew all would be well there and I drove on over the black asphalt, the moon shining in each window.  Body in motion.  Body

In orbit, lifting over the emerald seas of the fields.  The mare, the arcane bay mare in the moonlight, has lent me her power. The body and the night and the I, the personhood, the unified one--

It was never about estrangement, the body divorcing her brain, the divided being—the body is restless and kinetic; it feels the rain; it hungers for life—  

So that language emanates like light from the body.  It has always been that song is the fruit of the pysche’s womb, in the furnace of the body.

A poem then is not a gilded pear on green velvet in a gold frame in the drawing room of Louis XIV.   It is not a list of conceits, overheard innuendos, politically safe choices.

The body risks everything to disclose that it is a moon of song, like Schubert Lieder.  That everything it does consecrates the world.


The speaker’s, hands, her gnarled hands, that an hour ago tended and made order in the kitchen, drying off the old wooden spoons. 

The spoons of fervor, and the limber fingers of retribution. The searching red poppy of the heart.

In order to live in the world, the wound of the world of the night, the Being who is the I who is the Speaker must elaborate upon herself; the poem then is the battle cry of the identity.  

The feminine night, the mare coming into her milk.   A woman caressing the foal with her voice,  with grey-hair, a body that has adapted to injury. 

This voice has had to make its way like a Magi out over the fires of darkness, to be heard.  To orient itself within the body of the world: the stars, the slate sky.

Now I know who I am by igniting the white page and how it is the night’s womb, its field of being, the place to telegraph to the fingers, the electricity there, to speak.


Some have tied the women up at the center of the square, lashing them for claiming the power of the First Person, the heretical power of the I. 

But together, sisters of the body, we castrate them.  We neither write nor live in the patriarchal literary Valhalla.  Our poems breathe and burn; they take wing. I have one song to sing and it is the song of the body, her hungers.

We should stop saying ”speaker” of a poem’s voice, its heart and eyes.  We should say “singer.”  For it is the body that sings, the songs of the body that spill with their truths and blood and milk from our mouths.

visit one stop poetry to participate in this meme.  

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


moondustwriter said...

As a woman I appreciate the unity of the mare and the woman. As a writer I hear the song and want to join the song

Jenne love the way you speak to the red poppy

Kerry O'Connor said...

How could you not write of the red poppy?
And what a master piece of poetic prose this is - I'm quite blown away by its musicality and powerful imagery of womanhood and poetry and the deep connection we, who take a female form, must share in sunshine and on the darkest night.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Cries out to be read aloud

Reflections said...

Love the symbiotic nature of your piece... the relativity floats on the emerald seas, gallops from the nights being. A wonderful piece.

Ann Grenier said...

Absolutely gorgeous poem Jenne.

"the poem then is the battle cry of the identity"

This and so many other lines are truly like a psalm in their potential for reflection.

Sean Vessey said...

Jenne, your poem reminds me of Walt Whitman's I Sing the Body Electric.
"As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,
sanity, beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see. "
Your poem is beautiful in your voice and emotion like Walt Whitman's.

hedgewitch said...

You keep improving this new form you've adopted. This one is especially vivid, dealing with the poetic, yet measured as an essay, wild as a song sung outside at full throat.

Bluebell Books said...

perfect piece.
you are amazing.

check out short story slam today. hope to see your participation.