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, July 17, 2011

Two Poems for Monday and Magpie Tales

Two poems-- mask prompt generated second poem.  xj 

Haddon Hall, Elizabethan England

On Remembering an Old Novel

We are bees of the invisible. Passionately we plunder the honey of the visible in order to gather it in the great golden hive of the invisible.  Rilke

Among the yellowed pages of the worn novel
Lithographs of an English girl
Hair upswept, skin pale as bone china
By the third reading
I knew her heart and soul
And she came to dwell within me
Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall

I lived with her there, behind the oak door
On the moors of England
In the century before the century

Oh, the luminous heather
The tended fire in the parlor
The loyal black dogs.
I rode behind her, my arms
Around her waist
On her night sprint on horseback
To rendezvous with a forbidden love

At night I held the book close
When my mother rose up
Like a banshee from her half-sleep
Regaling the adobe, the eggshell
containing our family,  with curses

So that I was shaken
I would remember that I lived in Haddon Hall
I was the girl a knight adored

I was the virgin in the garden
With unbound hair
Sewing my wedding dress.

Many dreams remain locked
In old books
Many tales of courage
The honey of language

How  like little bees
We sip, dream, weep there,
Privately yielding ourselves
To an unreachable world.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011

Warrior Mask

An Old Mask Sings

Now you cannot pierce me
nor blind me
nor cut my tongue from my throat.
I have proofed myself against
the fires of hell

Warrior I
striding into the very sea

immune to the wrath of the Siren
and the surging sea-mammal's jaws.

Who am I
I have bound my sex from you
I live by wit alone
on the salt flats
of the Messina Strait
As you like it and when
you dream

I strike like the brazen lightning
to make your mortal empire 
eternally mine.

3-- Again, the Mask

When truth’s afraid she loves a good mask
A porcelain clown with acrylic tears
A satin ballroom feint over the eyes
A burkah at the well

A mask of innocence, a mask of guilt.
And how is there a mask of guilt:
Some draw arrows away
From the fleet gazelle
Making of themselves
A true prey. 
The crowd, scenting plunder
wheels like a band of crows

Descending on a martyr,
Feeding frenzy of shame on you.

When I saw this prompt I thought about the centuries of incursion by Rome and others of Calabria, my spiritual home, specifically the fishing village of Scylla.  This area is one of the most mythical places in the world-- Homer set the battle of Scylla and Charybdis here and sent Odysseus into the fray.  I spent a few weeks there in 1973 in the arms of a delectable, sweaty, tender Calabrian man I met in Verona.  He wrote The Song of the Resistance in my journal with a fountain pen and picked a wild rose I pressed in the journal.  See my memoir Nightfall in Verona, posted in its entirety.  xj 

Thanks to Tess Kincaid and Magpie Tales for this disturbing and interesting prompt.  xj 

 Wikipedia has a wonderful discussion of this novel that was a best seller in 1902 and quite a wonderful story involving the Monarchy and Mary Queen of Scots: I had the first edition, given to me by my grandmother, Helen Rodey Stamm, daughter of Bernard S. Rodey. 


jeffrey lewis said...

great metaphorical descriptions here, great opening stanza it really hooked me.

Maureen said...

Evocative poem.

Only a grand story could be told in a place like Haddon Hall. Those ancient homes still have a hold on storytellers.

I've crossed the Moors late at night in the rain and was ever so glad to reach my destination.

Mama Zen said...

This perfectly captures the refuge of a much loved book!

Ann Grenier said...

I am right there with you in Haddon Hall - a dreamer all the way. But I don't think I got far with the Ode except it seems the poet has been to hell and back...surviving the experience? Evokes the warrior perfectly.

jen revved said...

Hi Ann-- my poem is the mask speaking, not me-- thanks for weighing in! xxxj

Jo Bryant said...

Love both poems but your journey with the mask had me enthralled. :)

Stafford Ray said...

What a feast of ideas and images! Too many to pick one for comment really but I will.
"A mask of innocence, a mask of guilt.
And how is there a mask of guilt:
Some draw arrows away
From the fleet gazelle
Making of themselves
A true prey.
The crowd, scenting plunder
wheels like a band of crows."
I too have a dread of mindless crowds that too often crucify the messenger.

Sioux said...


The lines
"Warrior I
Striding into the very sea"
are marvelous.

thingy said...

How beautiful. "Oh, the luminous heather." Wonderful.

Tess Kincaid said...

Very nice, Jenne, both. I liked the second one best.

Doctor FTSE said...

All 3 delightful. With Tess I liked the second poem best. although I know Haddon Hall well.