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, October 13, 2011

A New Poem: The Honey-Bearer, posting for Dverse Challenge Today

Some of  you know that I have been working with lines from Rilke, writing with some of the conventions of his style-- meditative questions and statements, lines elaborating upon meanings in a somewhat formal rather than relaxed language-- this has been a very rewarding part of my writing practice;  I use the postings at A Year with Rilke, hosted by Ruth Mowry and Lorenzo Lapislazuli. Join in today's meme at DVerse Poets Pub -- to develop one's own poem based on the work of another poet.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....he said.  I'll be sending this manuscript around and am looking for beta readers.

Also wanted to mention that this exercise is in certain respects a "palimpsest"-- to superimpose one text over another.  A number of fine writers use that technique now and then, borrowing a structure or certain conventions they see in a given poem.  xxxj

The Honey-Bearer, After Rilke

We stand in your garden year after year.
We are trees for yielding a sweet death.
But fearful, we wither before the harvest.

We Stand in Your Garden Book of Hours III, Rilke

The sweetness of death is abundant here:
See how the pumpkin splits, spills its seeds
And withers up, like a widow lingering
At a bedside

And the weakening bees, gorged
With honey, their last-minute pollination
Of the marigold.

So does the earth propagate herself again
Out of the disintegration of the late flowers
Into the mineral loam.

What then of humanity—
Are we not carried on
In our absence
By our exuberant hymns
And poignant stories,
How I have directed you
To beauty?
Have I not made you dream of birds
With my songs of the blue crane

Love horses when I have said
Look at the corralled stallion
Take his loneliness in
So that he is comforted
By a hand that knows him

And by our children
They whose faces we see at the last
Who bear forward our traits
And multiplied sorrows?

But those of us who are barren
And alone:  how do we ripen.

How does a solitary life
Come to fruition even
As it spends itself
Like a kitchen match flare
Singes the stick.

Death, my mariner
Bearer of honey’s amber stupor,
Your eye on the horizon
Your cloudy hair blowing back

If I yield to you without objection
In the way of other things
Come like shadows to maturity
Everywhere we look

Will you carry me gently
Into eternity’s avidly shimmering
Will you close my eyes
With your fabled, incalculable tenderness?

For I have lived among the dark birds
Of winter
Long enough to know what you
Have to offer me
And I am tired of being afraid.

October 9 2011

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


Anonymous said...

Oh so wonderful. This is such a beautiful poem. You have learned a lot from Rilke. It's just wonderful. (I am embarrassed to have made such a paltry offering!)

My one question--are you being purposeful with the punctuation here. I wondered, for example, why "ripen" was not followed by question mark? Is it a given that it is not a question? This is so minor, but I wonder about some other punctuationas well, which seemed inconsistent or lacking. I mention these minor things only because it is such a great great poem.

Anonymous said...

Further to my other comment--I can see that you may simply mean the lines and questions to be very long. So, the punctuation is there. Still, it's something I'd look at carefully, if you, as it really is pretty much a perfect poem.

Victoria said...

Jenne'--thank you for introducing me to the palimpsest--a form that is new to me. I love Rilke's work and you have developed this with an exquisite understanding of his mystique. Thank you for sharing.

SuzyQ said...

The ending stark and reminiscent of Rilkes style.
An incredibly beautiful poem.

I love the idea that our stories and hymns carry us over that great eternal sea :)

Mark Kerstetter said...

Well it's a beautiful poem, period. I've read enough of Rilke to get a similarity in feeling and the faith in art, if nothing else. But I don't know Rilke well enough because I'm not fluent in German. It doesn't matter. Your poem stands on its own.

Timoteo said...

Love it.

As for the age thing, think of it this way: We are younger at this moment than we will ever be again! (Sometimes that cheers me...sometimes it depresses me !!!)

Brian Miller said...

you ask a bard question righ there in the middle...how do we ripen...every thing else wraps around it nicely....the opening visual of the pumpkins life in short is very nice...

Anonymous said...

"But those of us who are barren
And alone: how do we ripen." Incredibly emotional thoughts here.... and from here to the close it was just a building climax of spilling emotion! "I have lived among the dark birds of winter long enough to knoiw what yoiu have to offer me and I am tired of being afraid"////// wow

jen revved said...

Thanks once more to each of you, each of you superb writers in your own right-- I am late getting around but I shall. I never know how these "Rilke variations" seem to others; your feedback is precious to me. xj

Claudia said...

..Will you carry me gently
Into eternity’s avidly shimmering
Phosphor... wow i like this jenne
you know i love rilke - once tried to imitate his voice but it was a big disaster...the poem never made it to my blog but i'm learning so much from him as i think we do with each poet we read

signed...bkm said...

Very nice...my favorite is the stanza's with the question of being barren...how do we ripen....what a question....thank you so much ...bkm

Brian Miller said...

ha i caught your ref in the comment...i dont know if there is a secret...

1. comments are like an old water pump...you have to prime the pump...give to get

2. there are a good base of people i read every day and have developed a pseudo relationship with that visit every day...relationship, relating is key

3. consistency in posting and reading

so i dont know if you were serious in wanting to know but that is what i have found in the last 3 years of blogging...

i am humbled daily in the responses...

Richarde M. Talbot said...

The imagery lures me into the poem, and I'm rewarded with beautiful, thought-provoking language and ideas. I think you've captures Rilke well.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is absolutely fabulous writing - but I'm such a fan of your Rilke inspired work.

These lines really touched my heart:

Love horses when I have said
Look at the corralled stallion
Take his loneliness in
So that he is comforted
By a hand that knows him

And by our children
They whose faces we see at the last
Who bear forward our traits
And multiplied sorrows?

Anonymous said...

This poem is incandescently magnificent culminating in:

Will you carry me gently
Into eternity’s avidly shimmering
Will you close my eyes
With your fabled, incalculable tenderness?

I think your endeavor to publish it will be successful. Thank you for sharing it with us and your kind comment on my blog.

The Noiseless Cuckooclock said...

love it.

jen revved said...

Thanks so very much, fellow voyagers; may we soar this gorgeous weekend and know we're there together...xxxj

Cassiopeia Rises said...

Wow, how very wonderful and moving this is.Filled with lovely and sad imagery. It moves my heart. Thank you.


Fred said...

Jenne- I'm upset at myself for not seeing this piece up there the other day, but really glad I found it today, as it's a magnificent effort. I was teetering on whether I should do Rilke or a few others, eventually settling, if you want to call it that, on Baudelaire, but I love Rilke and you've captured a great deal of his essence in your piece, not a weak line in its entirety- you did what I couldn't get myself for doing- I really had no idea which direction I wanted to take with Rilke- again so I took the easy way out and went with another poet, albeit one I also love, but it was a pleasure to read this, as it is really what I would've liked mine to sound like, if I had chosen him. Thanks again

The Gooseberry Garden said...

love your blog,

come join our poetry picnic week 9 today,
first time participants can share 1 to 3 random poems.

Old poems or poems unrelated to our theme are welcome.

Hope to see you in.