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 and imagistic prose poetry chronicles the anatomy of shame; it is the poet's late-in-life tour d'force, sending the reader through Dante's circles of hell, the sewers of Paris ala Les Mis, mano a mano confrontations with the Alien mater familias, fusing literary and vintage 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.

With Mr. Bly the memoirist Patricia Hampl 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," 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.

In 2015, after a long battle, Andrews extracted her MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, begun and finished in 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."

Circa 2010 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.

As noted 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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Poem for New Week...

Dear Followers and other Cyber Voyagers, incl. One Shot Artistes--

I've been working on something like a short contemporary epic poem about the beautiful province of Calabria in Italy and the entrenchment of dark forces there.  I offer it here. I put up a post about the making of and sources for this poem today at Loquaciously Yours.  xj

Odysseus Weeps...

[I]t is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine
that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the man to dancing…it even
tempts him to blurt out stories better never told. -  Homer, Odyssey

“Una mattina mi son svegliato…di l'invasor
Bella ciao, ciao, ciao…”
--Canzione di la Resistenza di Calabria *


At dusk 
Dreaming of a distant summer
You imagine your way home
To the warm and wine-dark 
To Italy and Calabria
Where black swans gather
Drifting down one by one
To the coastline
Tide singing the exploits
Of a wayward hero
Glittering and translucent ash
From a ship on fire
Dissolving on the night
On the cliff above you
Homer wakes at his campfire
From a restless sleep
Diving past in a burning
Rush of air
To cut Odysseus loose
From the mast
Breathing against his white neck
There on the sand
In the wavering moonlight
Bringing him to life
In the mariners' cafe
A little night music
On warped 45’s
A shuffle to the concertina
You and the teller of tales
Swirl to the tarantella
One-up each other
With sagas of conquest 
Laughing together
In the warm waters
Off the Costa Viola
You have always wanted
To live at the dawn of time
This way
But now a mourning dove
Brings you news
Of a war in the streets
Of Reggio Calabria
A bloodbath there
The corpses of thugs
In doorways
You see photographs of teenagers
In the Via Candido, with a banner
Reading Adesso Amazzatecci Tutti—
Kill Us All Then
Women looking out
From behind the shutters
Of cement-block palazzi 
To the beach

The Gioa Port
Where crates of heroin
Wait for shipment to New York
In a gorse-covered meadow
In the Aspromonte
A man with grey hair 
Punctures his own wrist
Pierces a boy's wrist
Commingles their blood
One of us now Carlo,
He says, sotto voce:.
Tell no one-- that is our code
Of silence, Omerta
After the initiation
High thin voices, concertinas
And tambourines at the café’
Out in the near dark
The cigarette embers
Of those who live by vendetta
Homer takes your hand;
You ascend the hills
Of Reggio:
You see your lover and his family
Fallen at their doorway
Waiting for the death cart
Yours is a keening for the losses
Of your youth
And that of the women
The plundering of dreams
The murder of sons
With the others
You drag a clay pitcher
Through well water
Pouring a glass for fertility
A glass for grief
In the waters off Calabria,
Deep in a trawler’s hold
Ak47's are hidden
Beneath troths of ice
Packed with the bodies
Of the swordfish,
The pesce spada

Madonna and Child
Carried up the mountain
To the shrine at Polsi
Men in white hoods and robes
Gouge their own flesh
With small knives.
To atone
You look out
At thick cypress 
To hide the  villa 
Gone to ruin
A fox runs past
With a limp vole
In its mouth
You who promenade there
Surrendering your dissipation
To the evening air
Do you see the fallen
Black swan
On the white sand?
Children march daily
In the street—
Kill us all then
They chant,
To the entrenched and ruthless
Thieves of joy
Cut-throat crimini in bunkers
Of honor and blood
A mariner sails across the strait
With his spear
Impaling the pesce spada in mid air
Laughter and fresh meat at the fire
No longer:
A ragged moon rises
And there is a lament
Said to be the song
Of the ghost
Of a returning hero
Scylla and Charybdis
Contort on the pyre
Of the burning sea
Love's body drowns
And Odysseus weeps.

*..one morning I was awakened
By the invaders….
Bella ciao, ciao, ciao

copyright 2010 Jenne' R. Andrews
All Rights Reserved
No reprinting of part or all of this work
without express permission of the authoress....


Maureen said...

Lyrical, evocative, dream-like, operatic in the best sense of that word. Wonderful use of details, like the image of the mariner spearing/impaling the pesce spada and the swearing of Omerta; your use of words like gorse; the mix of the ordinary with the awful that comes across as routine (the ak47s packed in with the fish). And how you combine the ancient story with what is happening now. Superb, Jenne.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

thank you, Maureen... your thoughts mean so very much...xxxj

Nancy Hinchliff said...

This is a wonderful piece, Jenne. Rather than analyze it (I couldn't do any better or say more than Maureen already has), I will just say that the emotional impact brought tears to my eyes.

Bubba said...

Loads of great descriptives here, Jenne' - too many to pick just one as a favorite. Nice One Shot. (Or it it more of a LONG shot? A 'short' epic poem? Isn't that an oxymoron? LOL!)

Timoteo said...

So vivid...I felt immersed in the milieu.

Anonymous said...

Involved, in-depth - a piece that, truly, despite its advanced and involved length, drew me on. Wonderful, flowing piece, with a fine sense of detail, imagery, and word-play. In short: fine, fine work, Jenne. Thank you for sharing this with One Shot!

Shashidhar Sharma said...

Dear Jen

A great epic... Loved these lines...
'Yours is a keening for the losses
Of your youth
And that of the women
The plundering of dreams
The murder of sons'

Perfectly done.. thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

Thank you so very much to those of you who took the time to read this poem-- I realized belatedly that it was too much to ask of One Shot participants, really, with all of us needing to be there for as many other writers as possible. Thanks for going the distance-- it is very encouraging! xxxJenne'