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, June 5, 2011

A Poem for the Sunday Memes/One Shoot, and In Gratitude, to R.B.

(Apologies to Rob at One Stop-- we're given the option to go in another direction but your work is beautiful...xj) <.

Robert Bly reading May 9, Minneapolis


Para un viejo...

It is four a.m. and I am reading the words
of my old mentor
The one with the cloudy hair
The flying hands, the heart
That bears the weight of the world.

I am reading that he once slept
In Grand Central Station, hiked
miles to meet T.S. Eliot.
I am remembering how he lifted
My newborn goat up to the sky
On a Colorado afternoon

And the words he spoke to me
On a Minnesota night
That held me together.

I am remembering the night
We read together at the Minneapolis
Jungian Society
And he asked my therapist
What sort of Jungian she was
And she looked up smiling
From the piano and said
I am an onion.


I am thinking of my old mentor
His patience and care
With my book
The kindness that shines from his face

He transmits that to me
So that on impulse I leave a note for someone
I have tried to put out of my mind
Who heard his music 

This makes me vulnerable
As are all of us, when we go into the new store
At the town’s edge, geraniums everywhere,
people watching us,
Looking at our hands in our pockets.


Many things are awry in the world:
He writes "Call and Answer"
of Iraq, and death.
I swim toward and then away
Someone I have loved for too long
So that I am habituated to tears.

The stars fade into the dawn.
My curfew is 4 a.m.
When the birds wake
For their Chanticleer's Eponymous
meeting in the trees.

They will sing of their Higher Power.
They will babble lines from Neruda
They will descry the arrogance
Of poets who think only
Of themselves.


The old dog  settles into her crate
The last foal slips from the mare’s womb
Into the sweet long grass
The coyotes come in

To eat what she leaves
Climbing to her feet
Nosing the filly toward her flank.

I would like to leave this body
Join hands with my old friend, the great poet
And in the nursing home
next door, the old English woman
with shrapnel scars from Dunkirk
on her thin legs, who sang Mozart 
and Brahms with me.

I would like to forgive the men
Who have left me
And myself for my own betrayals

I would like to sow seeds of forgiveness
In the dawn's black earth.

Notes on our last living Great Poet: Robert Bly

Since Robert Bly’s first book, Silence in the Snowy Fields, appeared in 1962, he has published twelve more books of poetry including The Light around the Body, which won the National Book Award in 1968, and recently, Morning Poems (1998) and his selected poemsEating the Honey of Words (1999). His translations have brought Neruda, Vallejo, Tranströmer and Ghalib, among others, to the attention of American readers. Through his literary magazine and his small press, in operation since the fifties, Bly has challenged the larger publishing houses to promote writers and issues outside the mainstream. Through his protest against the Vietnam War, as well as the Gulf War, through his prose books Iron John(1990), The Sibling Society (1996), and The Maiden Kind (1999), written with Marian Woodman, he has become a significant voice addressing social and political problems of our times.  (Excerpted from Paris Review feature.)  He recently read from his latest collection Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey in Minneapolis; at 85 he is the Poet Laureate of Minnesota.

In 1974 he founded The Minnesota Writers Publishing House and invited several Minnesota poets to join the collective.  We bought an offset press, and began the enthralling and often exhausting activity of getting our book s  into the world. My book, In Pursuit of the Family, was the fourth collection in the series of the first twenty poets.

Looking back to that year I remember only patience and love.  One day when he was in Colorado Robert drove out to visit my parents, who were quite ill.  He was forgiving of my attacks of anxiety and egotism around the chapbook I then thought of as some kind of masterpiece, and he wrote a loving commentary for the back of the book.  I hope to scan the cover image and post it on this blog soon.

Robert Bly has supported me in my recovery and artistic growth throughout the years.  Maureen Doallas, author of Neruda's Memoirs, T.S. Poetry Press,  and blogger at Writing Without Paper, did a beautiful, exhaustive, illustrated  feature of Bly earlier this year.   


Copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


Dawn Potter said...

Jenne-- I think this might be 2 poems. The first is a small one that stops right after the "onion" stanza. That is a glorious ending. I may well be wrong, but try it out and see what you think.

jen revved said...

Oh Dawn, you're precious. I was up all night, feel like I've dropped acid, and settled for breaking it into three stanzas for now. I had just watched the video of his reading of the poem about Iraq on Maureen's blog-- I hadn't seen her write up-- fabulous. I did say that to her. Thanks for reading this. Don't know if you've read the Paris Review interview she links to-- captivating, I thought. xxxj

Maureen said...

Thank you for your comment here and on my blog about the Bly piece.

I agree with Dawn re that last stanza of the first section, which is altogether of a piece and quite wonderful.

jen revved said...

Thanks Maureen-- good to hear from you. I'll add link to your piece-- I also loved the piece in The Paris Review. xxj

Dawn Potter said...

Well, this conversation is making me happy.

jen revved said...

Thanks... I'm sure you're tired, hope you have a lovely evening/dinner/time w/ family. xxxj

Alegria Imperial said...

Coming from you what else but stunning would this four linked poems be, to me! I love the image of the foal, most of all, with its essence of vulnerability and how you slide it to the 'nursing home'--razor-thin pain that lurks behind all our brightness. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely mind!

hedgewitch said...

Sorry if I was unclear--I had been going to write "a ringing tribute" to Bly--quite a cliche I'm afraid and I felt it didn't 'ring' true with the tone of the poem, so the phrase chiming bells popped up to describe my sense of the mood of the piece. Hope that clarifies, and thanks as always for your comments at VE.