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 .

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Poem: Rilke Variation, for DVerse Open Link Night

Orpheus, Imploring  -  August Rodin

Thinking of Rilke on All Hallows Eve

Oh, the pleasure of it, always emerging
New from the loosened clay.  Those who
dared to come first had hardly any help.
Nevertheless cities arose on sun-favored
coasts, and pitchers filled with water
and oil…...

We are endlessly offered into
life: all time is ours. And what any one
 of us might be worth, death alone knows—
and does not tell.

Sonnets to Orpheus II

I do not meet you on the sun-favored coast
But in the Tuscan cypress at twilight
Where you walked alone, song stirring in you
Your hands at your sides.

When I first heard you calling from the page
I thought who is it that emerges
From the loosened clay
Of the underworld
Alive—a fellow seer and traveler
An Orpheus and Dante, brave interrogator
Out of the infernos of loneliness;

My vagabond heart went out
Into the forest crepuscule and saw how pale
You were, kneeling over a gravestone;
Behind the century’s curtain do you too
Bear witness to the pas de deux
Of the Gemini, two stars
in conjoined burning;
Did you as well, conjuring a Eurydice
of the garden,
dream of a counterpart?

And I knew you as both brother and lover
In language and spirit
In the kinship of deprivation, when I heard
That your mother incarnated
A lost daughter in you;
That is the Prufrockian infamy
We endured together:
How it was when we were small,
Vulnerable, and the profaned world
Slipped the axis of our sensibility.

Beloved to me is our unaccountable
Intimacy before the unseen:
And that we are each afflicted
With inner music sustains me now
As like you at the end, I am at odds with time
Striving to lend my voice and to stir those
Encountering my declarations.

If we could remake each other from wet clay
Reincarnate those we have lost

But instead lyrical volleys
Reverberate like bells peak to peak
And the passing grief-stricken moon
Yearns to stay behind to unite and
Succor us in the milk of her light. 

Rilke, as many poets before him, was captivated by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.  In many respects his work reveals his own unfulfilled quest for a Eurydice wooed by his singing into his arms.  He reinvents the myth in that Eurydice rises from death and imbues the natural world so that he senses her everywhere—a risen Eve, in a sense and a metaphor for the extent to which Rilke felt that world calling to him, evoking response from him.  In this poem I am trying to comprehend Rilke's pull on me rather than writing for a wider audience but I hope that others feel kinship with it.

Rilke was, in our terms today, the victim of child abuse; his mother, mourning a lost infant daughter, dressed him in girls' clothing for a time.  

My allusion to Prufrock of course refers to the great poem The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock of T.S. Eliot—a maimed and alienated modern persona also thwarted in a quest for intimacy, and who sees carnal/romantic love as linked to meaning and fullness of being.

Copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011   


Anonymous said...

Prufrock...maybe deeper than fullness of being.
Nice post.Bravo.

Kathy Bischoping said...

Hi Jenne, thank you for recommending dVerse to me with a recent comment on a Magpie Tale. Now here I am enjoying another of your poems, having posted another of my own.

I was struck by the stanza that begins "And I knew you as both brother and lover", and feeling that the narrative had hit upon its turning point. (I puzzled over the incarnated sister, until the explanation at the end.) Those moments of recognizing and feeling kinship toward someone who has had similar worst experiences, of being sustained by common affliction, do have a pull that goes beyond, or willfully rejects, all logic. It's as though the moon knows it: this isn't gonna work.

Brian Miller said...

i like how you find home a kindred in rilke and your own vulnerability in this...the moon left to succor those left behind those that have gone one is an image that ends is apropo...

Natasha Head said...

Quite honestly found this write breath taking. And totally appreciated your commentary as well. I've learned so very much from posts and writes such as this. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Seamless phrases float the reader through your insightful poem. This is an intriguing and excellent poetic dialogue. You've found a rich vein in these conversations with Rilke.

Claudia said...

in many ways i think Rilke was a cracked person...but maybe his writing wouldn't be as deep as it is if it weren't for the things he suffered...
you had me of course with the tuscan cypress..fell in love with tuscany this summer, it's a magical place and this magic mirrors in your poem..
If we could remake each other from wet clay
Reincarnate those we have lost...and succored in the milk of the moon's light are prob. my fav images in here..

robkistner said...

"As like you at the end, I am at odds with time..."

this passage touched me deeply, as it profoundly speaks to my place in the continuum...

Ruth said...

This is wonderful work, Jenné. Rilke brings out much good in us, and I'm fascinated by the ways his writing is more powerful than the life that shaped him, and how he "abused" others (I use the term liberally, because of how he left his wife alone to raise their daughter Ruth). I think she suffered from it, though she might not call it abuse. At any rate, I love that you are finding such inspiration from his writings, and creating your own gorgeous poems from it. That final image of the grief-stricken moon is incredibly comforting. Strange how the grief of another can succor us, no?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenne,

Rilke is also one of my very favorite poets, especially, I think, earlier works (perhaps because of the habitual immaturity of my outlook.) I was curious to hear about his mother dressing him as a girl--he has such an incredibly subtle sensibility. I don't know how/whether those things connect, but perhaps he was in situations where he needed to perceive nuance more than most. What's always amazing to me is that he can be so absolutely particular==catch such fine flashes of detail, such revealing moments--expressions, the wilt of a flower--while also being so sublime and universal. You seem to channel this type of sensibility very well. K.

Brendan said...

A fine shadow-dance with the man who became his own Angel through the transfiguring power of the word. Rilke would enjoy this wake of a walk with him, loving the child and the man in him, the beloved exchange of voices. - Brendan

Sheila Moore said...

enjoyed your insights into your spiritual/psych pull towards Rilke. I think many can probably relate. I appreciate the end notes as well.

Charles Elliott/Beautyseer said...

This piece reminded me that while working as Rodin's secretary, Rilke once wrote to his wife: "...works of art are always the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, to where no one can go any further. The further one goes, the more private, the more personal, the more singular an experience becomes and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of this singularity...” Thanks!

Zoe said...

Jenne, I can feel the slight dissonance of you both in this, and it is something I also relate to - at times mourning for the passing of connection to what is around us, yet finding comfort in connection on a deeper level. At least, that is how I take it. :) What a tender poem. Love it!

Shashi said...

I have loved Rilke and his 'Tiger' poetry was the one that made me think in terms of Objects. You have taken this thought of 'All hallows Eve' a bit further on that and I enjoyed it very much...
Yes "if we could remake each other from wet clay.." we could find the reason for the life..

Thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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The Orange Tree said...

unbreakable tie is beautiful revealed,
what a profound memories and thoughts.