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.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Poem for Weekend

The Innuendo of Owls

for Sam Peralta

Listen, do you hear it?
The sound of owls.

Reveling in their own voices, passing rumor, 
Aspersion, innuendo with each bass note: 
A sinister parliament.

-- from “Owls, after Kotaro Takamura”, Samuel Peralta

If I had the elaborate powers of night
I would do more than blunt day's scything
edges-- I would cloak fear in velvet lassitude 
I would envelope the lonely dog no one speaks to

At the end of its chain in the barrio.  In my arms
it would be safe to weep-- private, no one
to come with a bouquet of blame.
I would be the good darkness

That  laves the wounded heart
with its tongue.  I would close the eyes
of those for whom it is taking
too long to die.

We shake night from ourselves
and sluice down in rain water but even
an instant in the sun weakens us. 
We flee to Verona, the old quarter

Where the rose gardens enliven
the blurred frescoes of war. We wait
until the moon rises over the green silk scarf
of the Fiume Po. At moonrise  Dante

Steps forth from stone in the piazza; 
I love my infamy--
but do not go down into the Inferno.
There is no need. 

Furore.  Ah, Mio Cuore. 
Lucia, Juliette: non fa niente.
The altar is covered with roses. 
These are night's gifts, my dreams.

I come home through the barrio
looking at the tiny houses
their stillness, I scent their aroma
of tortillas.  I am the night, kiss incarnate

Kiss that soothes the troubled child, guards
the old woman who cannot hear
an intruder. I do not wish to be water. 
I am the barrio owl,  I am the soporific

For the fruitless battle raging
in the desert;  I spread my cloak over
the fallen and quench the lies
burning along the wires of time.

3 a.m.: I lock the car, and turn
and just then, there, the great-throated
voice, il basso profundo,
calling high in the withered oaks.

Copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2011 


Semaphore said...

I am honoured by your dedication, and beyond that, honoured by such a majestic poem, which takes night, and darkness, and peace, and solace, and eternal rest, and makes them - as we are - human.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

You are most welcome. I am equally amazed and moved by your exquisite poetry and have every confidence that the sky is the limit for you, Samuel. xj