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, February 6, 2011

New Poem: Homage to Sylvia Plath

The Wrack of Shells

To the memory of Sylvia Plath
“A lone beachcomber squats among the wrack
Of kaleidoscope shells
Probing fractured Venus with a stick
Under a tent of taunting gulls.

No sea-change decks the sunken shank of bone
That chucks in backtrack of the wave;
Though the mind like an oyster labors on and on,
A grain of sand is all we have.”

From Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea, Sylvia Plath

How then, our fractured girl
Did Venus too break apart at low tide
In scattered porcelain shards
Beneath our bare feet

Perhaps two disrobed
On the white sand
Before the indignant witness
Of rumpled waves

And stood revealed
As dual wounds
Red mouths made to leach
Brine, and lacerate--
Speaking words that abrade

The withdrawing sea leaves
Silted wrack
To seal small graves
Oysters drop pearls there
Bright confessions
Let slip from yearning tongues

And phantom sea stars
Bivouac in the ruins
Of the houses of the sand
Where love birthed herself
Rising sun-tinted
To stun and stripped 
Tease the wayward young

This makes a lonely
Beachcomber brave:
I came unto you
Wet and singing,
But no sea-change checks
The sighing storm
That unnerves a hungry wave

You surged, stunning me 
with your white crest 
And then pulled back 
to the monasteries of the sea
As if to know me then and there
Had turned your blood to water:
Now I am a grain of sand
Burning on in the bone-house
Of a shell.

Jenne' R. Andrews
February 5, 2011

Copyright Jenne' Andrews 2011
All Rights Deserved... 


Kerry O'Connor said...

A wonderful tribute to Sylvia Plath. I love your descriptions of the fractured girl upon the beach. I followed your link because I saw the picture of Venus Rising, and by a twist of fate I had also written a poem based on a painting of Venus. Serendipity. I'm glad it led me to your page this morning.

jen revved said...

Hi Kerry-- thanks a million. I can't get over those lines of Plath's-- I'll check you out...xxxj

Maureen said...

The sea offers you so many wonderful images that you use to great effect.

I especially like the metaphor of the fractured shell; so apt for Plath.

Ami Mattison said...

I'm awe-struck, Jenne'! The lyrical complexity of this is stunning. First, you've chosen an amazing passage by Plath. That lone grain of sand makes my throat cry. Then, to become the beachcomber is fascinating. I'm struck by the juxtaposition between the 3rd and 4th stanzas and the "sea leaves" and "seal." Lots of pearls ("bright confessions" upon your yearning tongue) here!

jen revved said...

Thanks-- and Ami yes, the more I worked on this the more unpacking of Plath's line and the more I felt the need to drill down as far as I could within each image... thanks for your heartening words on this one especially! xxxj

Ami Mattison said...

Jen, I thought I'd let you know that I just had to come back to this poem. I find it so utterly fascinating. To say it is a "tribute" is not quite enough--as it seems both a dialogue with Plath's poem and a love poem to Plath herself.

This time I'm struck by the measured way your poem reflects Plath's use of sound--how deeply you drilled down into the "s" sound in particular.

Plath: No sea-change decks the sunken shank of bone / That chucks in backtrack of the wave

You: Wet and singing,
But no sea-change checks
The sighing storm
That unnerves a hungry wave

You surged, stunning me
with your white crest
And then pulled back
to the monasteries of the sea

Sea, sand--everything is the sighing, rushing sounds of the ocean.

Anyway, I could go on. I love Plath's poetry so dearly--true genius, and you reflect that brilliance in this poem.

jen revved said...

Ami dearest-- I have to thank you for getting what I tried to do here-- quite the challenge to aspire to Plath's assonance and the amazing lines you pinned-- Plath: No sea-change decks the sunken shank of bone / That chucks in backtrack of the wave

I thought about decks-- she couldn't mean as in punches but more like strands or leaves on the sand, I think. Your comments and that you came back mean the whole world to me. Love, J