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Professor Jenne' Rodey Andrews, M.F.A., is a highly regarded American poet, critic and memoirist. Recent work has appeared in former Autumn House Publisher Michael Simms' Vox Populi (over fifteen poems) The Passionate Transitory, Belletrist Coterie, The Adirondack Review and elsewhere.

Andrews' current ms of poetry Beautiful Dust was a finalist for the 2014 Autumn House and she recently withdrew the work from Salmon Ltd, Ireland to protest unmoderated bashing of American writers by Irish writers on the press's social media pages.

Her most recent collection, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, lauded by Robert Bly and endorsed by poets Jim Moore, Dawn Potter and Patricia Kirkpatrick, appeared from Finishing Line Press 2013. A booklength collection Beautiful Dust was 2014 finalist for the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and solicited by Salmon Press, Ireland. Turning on work set in the West and her native Southwest the collection is under submission to 2019 publication prizes.

Andrews is currently hard at work on two new memoirs: The Shame Garden: A Woman Writes of Isolation, Despair and Self-Redemption, which in intensely wrought prose poetry chronicles the anatomy of shame; it is the poet's late-in-life tour d'force, sending the reader through the circles of hell, the sewers of Paris, mano a mano confrontations with the Alien mater familias , fusing literary and cinematic works in an elliptical dance with human history and experience of being Other. The poet has no idea of what will become of this work but hopes it finds a home as memoir with a small press.

A four part interview with Andrews went live at poet Maureen Doallas's blog Writing without Paper in 2010.

Other collections include the full-length Reunion, Lynx House Press, The Dark Animal of Liberty, Leaping Mountain Press, and In Pursuit of the Family, edited and published by Robert Bly and the Minnesota Writers Publishing House.

Her work has been anthologized in Heartland II, Northern Illinois University Press, 25 Minnesota Vols. I and II, Wingbone: An Anthology of Colorado Poetry, Women Poets of the Twin Cities, Oil and Water and Other Things that Don't Mix, and elsewhere.

Essays have appeared in MPR's Magazine, The Colorado Review, The Twin Falls Times News, and miscellaneous journals.

IIt is Prof. Andrews' belief that one's collection of poetry must be judged on the quality of its craft, voice, and language, not its themes.

In 2018, she also withdrew her collection of translations Bocca, Voce, Delirio, Mouth, Voice, Delirium, Poems of Italy and Amore, from Finishing Line, which had been translated by Professor Lorenzo Luciani and the Poet Rosalba di Vona, whose work has been translated on this very blog, after the translators threw tantrums when the Poet identified two errors, and the publisher, Finishing Line Press, insisted that she proofread galleys produced by broken software that were utterly illegible. As noted, Beautiful Dust and Bocca Voce will be circulated to other houses.

Her work has been lauded by a number of her contemporaries who include in part poets Christopher Howell, Tom Wayman, Bill Tremblay, Patricia Kirkpatrick, many others and the memoirist Patricia Hampl, who wrote a forward to her first collection and is considered the "mother" of the modern American memoir although she arguably shares this title with Mary Karr for Karr's The Liar's Club. Andrews mentored Karr in Minneapolis when the former was circa 19.

Professor Andrews has had an illustrious teaching career at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado where she taught prelaw students in the making of argument and the issues-oriented seminar The American West. She was the highest rated instructor in the University Writing program during her tenure at Boulder.

Currently Professor Andrews writes daily at age 70, having been rendered housebound in 2007 in a fall from a horse, at home with her lover and companion of thirty years the fiction writer Jack Brooks, ten new poems a month, and is working on an additional memoir about her pioneer roots, "Territory Fever: The Story of an Albuquerque Family," and a memoir, The Shame Garden: One Woman writes of Rejection, Desolation and Self-Redemption. This ambitious memoir explores the origins of shame and unworthiness from the crib forward with personal anecdote and the processes by means of which the shamed arrive at "not-mattering" to the world and to themselves. The latter will be circulated and the former is posted as chapters are finished to Loquaciously Yours where the poet has produced over 450 essays in the past decade on a variety of topics as well as book reviews. Upcoming: a review of Ethna McKiernan's new Salmon Collection.

Ms. Andrews is also a Civil Rights Advocate advocating in 2019 for the civil rights of the poet Ping Wang who recently won the AWP Award for Memoir as well as having three open cases of her own before the Colorado Division of Civil Rights.

In 2015, after a long battle, Andrews extracted her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, begun and finished it the 80's, self-advocating under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In fact Andrews was instrumental in the Colorado Commission on Higher Education's approval of the MFA at CSU.

She is a literary fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota Arts Board Fellowship, was short-listed for a Bush Foundation Fellowship, 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, one of the first poets to inaugurate The Loft Literary Center, co-founding Women Poets of the Twin Cities which as noted boosted the careers of Mary Karr, Ethna McKiernan and others, and spent the summer of 1973 in Reggio Calabria, Italy which gave rise to the "voluptuous prose-poetry" memoir Nightfall in Verona posted in entirety here, designated by arts maven and former friend Caroline Marshall of NPR The Writer Reads as "fabulous." A four-part interview of Professor Andrews is available online at fellow poet Maureen Doallas's inimitable blog Writing without Paper...

Professor Andrews also founded a poetry group on She Writes which included Dawn Potter, Katha Pollock and other noteworthy writers, and supported the work of Meg Waite Clayton, fiction writer in addition to mentoring a number of other up and coming writers.

There is no way to estimate the influence on the lives and work of the some 12,000 students k-12 she met and encouraged in the seventies, but the poet James Tolan has attributed his career to her work as it was anthologized in Heartland II, Lucien Stryk, Editor. Professor Stryk read the title poem of In Pursuit of the Family on NPR.

The poet lives in northern Colorado's Poudre River Valley with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks; the couple's daily life is centered around writing and enjoying their beautiful imported Golden Retrievers;-- see the Ardorgold website for details. Contact: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com.

Signed copies of the Blackbirds Dance collection, endorsed by James Moore, Patricia Kirkpatrick and Dawn Potter, are available from the poet. She posts new work below and is available for mentorship and virtual readings via Skype.

She is happy to critique ms. of poetry, fiction and memoir for a small fee.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Poem: The Wound Testifies


The Wound Testifies

It is true that I am the beggar heroine of my own life.  It is true that I have
wounds that glitter in the sun like silver dollars baked into my skin.  It is true
that I have a mouthful of black butterflies at sundown.  But pain is.  Lies are.  
If you love and open the wound your heart is someone will pour black oil

Into it--  you will fold like a white silk scarf in the meaningless light of
afternoon.  You will want to die, but then if you can stand it a few
seconds longer, you will rise up, sit in the dusk where the clouds and
retreating sun make a bonfire scrim behind the trees. Have you seen

The way they reach and search, with the black branches against magenta
and orange light, the beggar heroine ascending from her despair like a
blackbird, in a few luminous minutes of delight.

ii

I have wept and I have raged: is this not true of us, we who feel too keenly,
so that we are pierced by the merest whisper. I would like to have stones in
my breast, not flesh, not the pale weak flesh so readily seared by innuendos. 

I would like not to rise up like a matriarch owl, my wings beating over you
who live by wounding and cowardice. For lo, I am utterly sick of being
a wound, sick to death of death and the smell of death and rain and the
promise of rain only to have the pallid sun beat down and parch the earth. 

I would love to be a clock, inanimate yet ticking away the seasons.  Or a
bomb that did some good, if  there were such a bomb, like safely moving
a collapsed house off a child even if it cost me my life.  Or to be someone

On fire with self-belief, who has not collected all of her tears like sapphires
in a velvet box or hour on hour, blunders on even when the shadows
feel like loving pale arms and the water waits, in  a wanton and green allure. 

Revision, copyright 2019 Prof. Jenne' Rodey Andrews 

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