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 .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Poem: Pieced, for DVerse Poets Poetics - Draft

 To participate in the marvelous narrative prompt posted at DVerse today, click here

Star of Bethlehem quilt by R.L. Bates, M.D.

For we have seen his star in the east
and are come to worship him

Mathew 2:1-2

A 60’s winter, late in the decade
and we had brought in Elmer Callamer’s
pinon knots from the woodyard at the Y
where Highway 1 meets 287

(Old Elmer who had gone mad
and always told us the same story
of driving overland stage coach
being shot at by the Cheyenne
showing us the hypothetical arrow-hole
in his battered hat)

So that at sunrise on that one day
of the year kindled by love—in that house—
within that family

The fire threw up its golden exclamation marks
while we had our eggnog in Santa cups
spiked with a thread of brandy.

For a few hours when you looked out the window
it seemed that you were in Victorian England
on Christ’s Mass, that a proud patent leather horse
might trot by pulling a holly-decked carriage
at any moment

And lo, everyone was happy
Fully clothed and in their right minds.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
the heavy Anglican version, played
and slow tears rolled down Dad’s face

When we plied him with a tie, a shirt
a drawing.
She, the arbiter and grand dame sans merci

Sat in the brocade platform rocker
downing one eggnog after another
pointing at the Matterhorn of gifts
under her imperial tree.

We approached deferentially, like
children biblically trained up
with green willow whips
and seated ourselves for the bestowal.

After she signaled to a great wrapped
bundle in the corner
I went to it and tore it open
and into my lap unfolded and spread itself
A Star of Bethlehem quilt

Whose spectacular chromatic
geometry called out into the morning.
Even though, when I held it to the light 
and could see the faint imperatives
encrypted in its batting

I was swept away in a surging
and tidal adoration of her for 
thinking of me
equipping me for the world

And my own household, then 
a room in an old A-frame in Rist Canyon
with other flower-children.

“It’s all hand-done,” she said.  “Look,
at the perfect piecing.  It took them months
and it’s at least fifty years old--an heirloom.”

Read between the lines O Daughter;
Thou art blessed among women:
The Star of Bethlehem now graces
Thy existence

And thou shalt never wander far from it
Shall hang it on every wall
Of every house
Where thou livest poorly or well

And thank me for all of thy days
That I thought thee worthy of this.

I did that too, taking the quilt with me
to Minnesota
back to Colorado, ever its
conscientious steward,
hanging and rehanging it in each
ritual nesting, until it begged me

To let it fade as she had
one autumn day, in washed-up pallor
and became so torn, narrative-heavy
it turned into one more thing
I was done trying to save.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews


Anonymous said...

For a few hours when you looked out the window
it seemed that you were in Victorian England
on Christ’s Mass, that a proud patent leather horse
might trot by pulling a decked carriage
at any moment

-> makes me wonder if this is a real memory or your fantasy :)

Mary said...

Jenne, that is quite a story you wove here. Such a lot of history in your poem, the quilt.

Claudia said...

such fine story telling jenne..i was right there - and what a gift.. then the ending...the turning into one more thing that couldn't be saved.. made me sad and yet...it's part of life as well..great write

Brian Miller said...

love your close...one less thing i try to save...great symbolism in that as we try to 'save' much but seldom to our pleasure...the story is woven very nicely you develop her character well as the matriarch

Mark Kerstetter said...


This poem, this ending of this poem....


Anonymous said...

Whoa. You have put a lifetime into this one (as was done in the gift.) Very well done. Wonderful ending. I love the infusion of each gesture with symbolic and endless meaning. Very Woolfian (as in Virginia), but with Western bent, wonderful. K.

Victoria said...

Oh, my! I have the chills. This is replete with so many images and feelings...a quilt in its own right. Magnificent metaphor. I stand in awe of your poetry, Jenne.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Beautiful quilt, beautiful story, beautiful poem.