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, January 23, 2011

For Sunday photo challenge....One Stop Poetry

quick note:  a few people asked me to clarify some of my silly allusions-- so there's a bit of a parsing after the poem...xxxj

Paree Avec Mon Cigar

You could be listening to Ma Vlast
In a bistro, reading
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Or hunched beneath Notre Dames
Counting les heures before a heist
Working up a heuristic
For the hairless coconut you found on a sandbar
Off pago pago
It doesn't matter
Anyone can say anything here,
Most etiquettes, dreams, and quick bidettes
Are de rigeur and tres o.k.:  oy vey--
It’s Paris.

No etymologies please or epiphanies
No striptease down to the red stilettos
On the deck of the ferry from Marseilles
Just bring poppies
Trifle to the Eiffel
And we'll do the rest
In our bain marie
In the maraveille that is Paris.

In the Bohemian Quarter
She with the cache of ben oo la la balls
Trills a chanson on the skin flute’
There is a riotous hoisting of all petards
In fact D' Artagnan’s here
Bien sur, Stein with uber-Alice and her tender button,
And dear lachrymose Chopin--
Gershwin knew enough to swim
With Hemingway and F. Scott's Nick Carraway
In spite of that foul-mouthed Sartre

Dust of the ages in the wind
The perennial verdure of Tullieres
The goosed foie gras that gives you dysentery
And I may have forgotten to mention
All that phenomenal art

Monet Gaugin Rodin
Too loose Lautrec Manet  The ballet
Debussy Delibes Ravel Faure
And never forget the Perrier Joeut
The motet, the cadet the plies
The pirouette the glissade
The certemente the barrage

You’ll be exhausted
It will have cost you
But you haven’t lived
Until you’ve been done
By Paris.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews
2011 all rights reserved

Posted in response to photo challenge of femme fatale smoking cigar in presence of smirking black companion


...truthfully, this poem was spawned last week when in a spate of insomnia, my head in overdrive, I heard the first few lines-- the photo challenge helped me firm it up.  

I see Paris as the repository for every character in the world.  Here's a brief key:  Ma Vlast-- a sweeping and vainglorious piece by Smetana-- "The Fatherland"-- it would be odd to be listening to this in a bistro-- on an i-pod per se... then ref to Carson McCuller's novel about alienation and loneliness-- and there you are sitting in Paree being aristocratically alienated, then came thoughts of the numerous heists from the Louvre, the next few lines about the coconut were a bolt out of the blue-- again to generate a sense of the eccentricity of those continentalized souls who might be found any time of day or night in the City of Lights and what their preoccupations might be-- of course one hopes that most of one's poem is self-explanatory but... the ferry from Marseilles and bringing poppies is a reference to the opium trade and the French connection...a bain marie is a double boiler and a double entendre-- Marie's bath, Marie being just about any French whore...hopefully one enjoys the lines about the Bohemian Quarter; D'Artagnan is one of the noble, fleur de lis upthrusting Three Musketeers-- Alexander Dumas-- pretty common knowledge that Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were lovers and that Stein wrote a book of love poetry called Tender Buttons-- that Gershwin wrote An American in Paris, that Hemingway too was of the infamous Lost Generation and placed his war-devastated/castrated Nick Caraway/ A Farewell to Arms? there--and I have no idea whether Sartres swore or not-- it just seems that he would have and my metier demanded it.  Ha!  Then, the rest:  the famously gorgeous jardines du Tullieres, that pate' is typically made of goose liver,  artists, composers, the dance, the PJ champagne (I was given a bottle for my wedding) again the list of words that have found their way into English and then the writer collapses, exhausted by all of it.

Confessions #2 and #3-- I have only been to Paree in my dreams, and I don't speak French.  

More Thoughts about Paree avec mon cigar and other matters.

Writing this for me was a break from my perennial seriousness, the strip-mining of my own and my family's past, how I flog myself every day for no good reason to be a better and bettter writer-- which is why I take these challenges.  Apologies and a gift basket of foie gras and d'anjou pears to any francophiles or Parisiennes I offend with my song.

This has also been an exercise in free association and letting myself be nonsensical-- something I highly recommend.

Finally:  before I pulled up this post and its five so far comments today, I was ready to throw myself off the nearest tall building.  I have been feeling that my recent work is very good but that it will never get its propers, as in publication in the "literary" venues, that I made an immense mistake in turning my back on the amazingly great start on a career as a poet I made in the 70's in Minnesota and Colorado and that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to get back in the saddle.  

But as soon as I saw these comments, I took heart.  I value the input and judgement of those of you who graciously take the time to comment on my work.  I return the favor as much as I can.  At this moment I am free of the anguish I am in much of the time over recent rejections from the likes of Poetry, Field, Beloit, and last but hardly least, Greywolf.  There was time when Greywolf, based in St. Paul, was a little less devoted to the already be-knighted, literary elite.  If you look at their list you'll see Tess Gallagher, Linda Gregg, Elizabeth Alexander and other luminaries.  Scott Townsend left and a former New York ed took over and the rest is history.

A few words about the value of community. In 1972 or thereabouts I co-founded Women Poets in the Twin Cities.  One of the young women I mentored was Mary Carr, who had a very sassy mouth, wrote brilliantly and read swinging her long dark hair.  I myself was mentored by Patricia Hampl.  We were there for each other and no one judged anyone else.  We just tried to encourage each other, and validate each other as writers and women breaking out of the lingering idea that despite all of the ground broken by feminism and the counter-culture, a woman shouldn't be a writer.

I co-founded the Smith Park poetry series-- Garrison Keillor broadcasts from the theatre we held forth in now-- with Caroline Marshall; she subsequently took me to Europe, leading to my recently completed memoir Nightfall in Verona (currently on someone's desk at an agency in NYC)-- Caroline went on to produce the NPR series Listening to Ourselves with Alan Cheuse, who is still the book critic du jour.   The point is that you never know what the outcome of our interactions will be. We had a wonderful time in a verdant period, giving readings followed by parties; everyone slept with everyone else, including the never bashful and always outrageous Mr. Bly,  and we all threw our wineglasses into the fire literally and figuratively.

Fast-forward to now and my founding of Poets on She Writes several months ago.  The group has gone from two members to 213 as of yesterday and the site has mushroomed into thirteen thousand women writers from all over the world.  One Stop Poetry is another community I find so very positive and supportive.

Writing is lonely, lonely business.  If you're driven to do it, you can't help it.  Thankfully, we are all in this together and I know not one writer who doesn't have some degree of angst, no matter how outwardly and traditionally successful.  Thank you, all; may our work continue to feed our hearts, minds and souls.  

Jenne' R. Andrews


Jerry said...

I think I neede to catch up on some reading. This clearly shows that you are very well read...and yet I love the inferences and play on
words...especially too loose Luatrec

Anonymous said...

Very different take on the photo prompt! Rather enjoyed my trip. Bit the last line leaves me wondering. She was Paris and her spirit

hedgewitch said...

"...There is a riotous hoisting of all petards..."

Have to love it, and one can see you have been done by Paree and are only to eager to pass it along. Every stanza here is crammed so full of image and experience, sweetness and excitement, not to mention the references to every example of the arts, that it would take ten readings to unpack the half. And a very positive and novel take on the prompt, as well. Loved it.

Fireblossom said...

Ha! I've met this Ben Wa, too. *walks away chuckling*

Maureen said...

Tout le monde in this poem! And then some.


Ami Mattison said...

Wow, Jenne'! Maureen is right. The whole world's in this poem! I love all the art and historical references to Paris culture--some of which were lost on me, but I loved them nonetheless. Indeed, after this reading, I feel done by Paris!

jen revved said...

Thanks, Ami. This challenge thing is way cool, yes? love, J

dustus said...

I'm quite taken by your poem, in particular the abundance of literary allusions. Inspires me to start writing down my dreams, rather bouts of insomnia, again. So thank you, Jenne' ...I believe Sartre swore repeatedly insisting hell was other people; minor swear by today's standards of course. Anyhow, the value of support and community is priceless. Angst and isolation can breakdown anyone, and it is wonderful to learn about how you've made great efforts to reach out to fellow writers, One Stop Poetry included. Many thanks. Now all I need is a ticket to Paris!

Glynn said...

I just finished reading "Monsieur Monde Vanishes" by Georges Simenon. Part of the story is set in Paris, part in Marseilles, part in a casino in Nice. Your poem - your take on the photo - fits that story. Well done, Jen.

Anonymous said...

no need to get back in the saddle...you can ride bare back.

jen revved said...

Many thanks to each of you for your so very heartening comments! xxxxj

Brian Miller said...

keep taking heart...you are good and you will get there...i dream of paris myself...and hope one day to go there...maybe even to live.