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, June 17, 2012

New Poem: Banished, for DVerse Poetics and OLN

Many thanks to the inimitable Karin Gustafson, tending bar at DVerse Poets Pub today-- a lovely online community of talented people.  The prompt: to write of exile, is tre fabulous.  xj 


Everywhere’s filled with barbarism, cries of beasts:
everywhere’s filled with the fear of hostile sounds.

Ovid, On Being Cast Out of Rome

Tonight I sit on the edge of my community
writing of the fire
that has drawn all together--
the narrative of seeming unity
in the face of disaster.

That one.

The most exiled are the deer running
from the fire
the buck on my front lawn
dazed, alone.
The small living thing
left behind
cowering near the embers.

Are there others, sitting on the periphery
feeling the heat, souls aching
at the news, squinting at virtual maps
far into the early morning, writing
as the voices of catastrophe and solace
where a candle burns down
on a second-hand table?

You the displaced:
I know what this is, this sense
that your home has betrayed you,
that fire has cast you out,
laid you bare and branded.

I know the conflagration of trust,
a burning down of barns
with horses in them,
the child’s running low to the ground for years,
the solitary psalms of inner hiding

so that it isn’t safe to go among even
meandering fellow exiles
muttering to themselves,
drinking free coffee,
counting their panhandled
crisp dollar bills at dusk.

The stag at the window.
Weekend jazz, the night, the smoke
from the fire flapping its brazen
and bronze wings north to Laramie;
the sweet anonymity of night.

Nearly, and now
are we a multitude, still unknown
to one another,
a garrison of the dispossessed,
hardened and beyond weeping.


Jenne' R. Andrews

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012


Britton Minor said...

Without people like you, who are brave enough to say what others tiptoe around, ignore, or deny, we would all sleep through life. It's not easy to be the one who speaks up; who isn't always popular for pointing out the mistakes others have made that have cost innocent people everything--but you do it anyway, despite your own challenges. And then, the beautiful gift flows out of you (though you labor over it), and if we can but be open, we will be touched in ways that may just spur us out of our own complacency and into action (activism) when it is our time too.

Brian Miller said...

dang jenne...i can not imagine the wild fires pushing...evicting all those animals...watching them and knowing too that fire was coming and you may be next...shiver...

Laurie Kolp said...

Wow, exiled animals... this leaves quite an impression... a feeling of sadness and powerlessness.

Charles Miller said...

Powerful work, J, as always.

Daydreamertoo said...

The wild fires are dreadful. I cannot imagine losing everything, a home, all of your possessions, all of your memories tied up in so many years. I cannot imagine any loss of life either human or, animals. The fear must be almost unbearable.
Your prose is deep and picture filled, vivid in its imagery and truth.
Each year these fires seem to get bigger and bigger. I do hope your own home isn't under threat anymore.

Mystic_Mom said...

Jenne - I used to be a FF doing wildland and interface fires, and we faced our own fires this spring - keep speaking out! Not everyone who 'serves' does it well! That aside, great poetry here too...wow Jenne you did a great piece of work on this.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenne = a wonderful poem, such a terrible situation. I keep thinking of the ladies' shirtwaist workers and even 9/11 = how people jump out of buildings to escape flames - and of course what can the animals and those pushed from their homes - and that terrible disorienting fear of displacement felt by humans and animals alike - so well-expressed here with your very particular details which make the poem so effective and so telling. k.

Anonymous said...

PS - so glad you used the Ovid - they are beautiful poems. k.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, moving, and hits so close to home. Your work is truly majestic, I admire it.

Deborah Batterman said...

Even without the prompt you say gave rise to the poem, it was there, waiting to unfold. The powerful images call to mind displacement, even disorientation, when what we think of as home is in ruins. Then there's fire itself, with everything it conjures. . . .

Brian Miller said...

caught this at poetics, so think i will just say hi and smile...

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

You manage to create beauty from this confronting situation.

Semaphore said...

Part of what it is, part of what makes your work incredible, is that it is theatrical, majestic in expanse and immediate in emotionality. And then you layer it with historical context and symbolic context - Ovid, the animals, the fire, and the contrast to contemporary events - so that the fiery maelstrom of your words becomes unstoppable.