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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Poem, from Photo Challenge....

Written for Sunday photo challenge and this week's One Shot Wednesday for One Stop Poetry-- a burgeoning worldwide challenge!

Photo – Andreas Feininger, The View Along U.S. 40 in Mount Vernon Canyon, Colorado  1942

Road and Driver

They had always said
Don’t take the car up into those hills; 
We know you-- 
That you’ll pack in your green tackle box 
With the jumbled pigments in it
and set your easel up
In the most dangerous place—
You could be killed there.

But after all,  her beloved
Was off in a trench at Guadalcanal
That very day.  
She stamped the last Red Cross care package
Slammed down a highball,
Left a quick note, grabbed the keys
To Grandfather’s prized Plymouth convertible

Found herself in the car rocked
By the lonesome wind,
Hugging the cleft in Mt Vernon Pass
Where she could see the horizon
Buteo-buteo riding the downdraft
To plunder fresh antelope carrion
As laid bare and vulnerable
As the body of a marriage on hold

No sacrament or mystery here:
It was just an escapade 
that steadied her heart
And made it bearable later 
when she made the switchback
descent in first gear 
to fish-tail home 

To the dusty parlor on 14th street 
in Albuquerque
Sitting down at the Knabe 
with the Brahms Waltz in A flat
To play herself and the sleeping tiger cat
A lullabye for the end of war.

(buteo buteo =  North American buzzard....)
Copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2010
All Rights Reserved.


Maureen said...

So many wonderful details in this poem that create a vivid sense of place and time. I can imagine this as one of a series of poems that together tell the stories of some interesting characters.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

Great idea and many thanks as ever, lovely M...xxj

Maureen said...

Someone on Hootsuite/Twitter just said of your poem: "incredibly beautiful". I told him I hoped he'd left you the comment.

Anonymous said...

Not only do I find this to be beautiful (thanks Maureen for the prompt) but I am in awe of your ability to tell such a complete story in so few lines. =o)

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

Thank you, James! The best of luck with your project...xxxj

Timoteo said...

I smile at the beginning, knowing it's going to be good...I smile at the end, knowing that it was good.

Steve Isaak said...

Solid lead-up, love the end-stanza (inspired stuff that end-stanza).

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

thansk tim and steve-- will catch up wichyou...xxxj

dustus said...

Great poem, Jen. Not sure how I missed this one. Wonderful images and details. Cheers

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

thanks tim, adam, steve! you all inspire me to keep on..xxxj