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Bio- Short Version
Jenne’ Rodey Andrews is a lyric poet with roots in the American West and Southwest, self-publishing a pamphlet of poetry at 16, professionally publishing her first poem in The Colorado Review in 1969 under the guest editorship of Canadian force of nature and prolific poet Tom Wayman. Mentored by American poets Robert Bly, Bill Tremblay and Mary Crow, she is the author of four published collections of poetry, her current manuscript Shiprock Testimonial a finalist for the Autumn House Prize in 2014 and under circulation to 2019 publication contests.
Andrews’ current life and work are informed by the fact that she is at 70, the matriarch of a nexus of pioneer families who settled in territorial Albuquerque after the Civil War. She bears as her first name the surname name of her great-grandmother Naomi Ruth Jenne, descendent of one John Jenne, a Dutch brewer who sailed to Plymouth Rock aboard the Little Anne, and the middle name of her great-grandfather, Bernard Shandon Rodey, an influential visionary who emigrated from County Mayo, Ireland to New Mexico Territory in the final years of the nineteenth century, whose achievements include founding the University of New Mexico, serving as District Judge to Puerto Rico and most recently, being the seminal character in the poet’s fictionalized memoir posted currently with updates on this blog, Territory Fever: An Albuquerque Family’s Story.
The poet lived in Albuquerque until she was twelve, notably in a picturesque post-war adobe, cloistered for long hours with her mother, brilliant and self-destructive New Mexico painter & playwrite Helen Stamm Andrews nee Helen Jenne’ Stamm, relying on her lively imagination & the comforting lyrics of the poetry in A Child’s Garden of Verse, Robert Louis Stevenson and a literary stew of other poetry, turn of the century children’s books and Victorian romances, to populate a rich inner life. She counts among her encouragers, her father, mother, brother and indomitable aunt Winifred Stamm Reiter, journalist and anthropologist who was all things to a 30’s magazine called Digs about the Anasazi excavations at Chaco Canyon, NM. Aside: with others, the poet believes that American anthropologists have been unfairly discredited by tribes who woke up to their cultural pasts beginning in the 70’s, demanding return of their artifacts that had been lovingly and carefully preserved by those highly trained graduate students who under the direction of such luminaries as Clyde Kluckhohn, excavated entire ruins under the blazing sun.
About the Work
Andrews’ poetry was copiously published in the 70’s and 80’s, reappearing in online journals and a new collection from Finishing Line Press, after years of raising Golden Retrievers in the Cache Le Poudre River Valley in Northern Colorado. Her work is noted for its indelible lyricism, faceted brilliance of language and imagery, and thematically speaking, an impassioned vision for both the richly storied identity born of her southwestern pioneer roots and on the other, transfiguration through a “melding” with the Other and identification with the “passionate transitory” of the natural world. Her influences include the American Confessional School, the work of Theodore Roethke, Tess Gallagher, D.H. Lawrence, William Butler Yeats, Walt Whitman and the finely-honed early poems of Adrienne Rich.
Her published works include In Pursuit of the Family a modest volume published by her mentor Robert Bly and the Minnesota Writers Publishing House. Reunion, Lynx House Press, Christopher Howell, Editor, appeared in 1983. Her most recent collection is Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, an expanded chapbook issued by Finishing Line Press with commentary by literary luminaries Dawn Potter, Jim Moore, and Patricia Kirkpatrick, and cover art by the brilliant mixed media artist Jonathan Sokol. Copies of this collection may be ordered signed from the poet; see contact info in the sidebar.
On the boards: the dual-language collection Bocca, Voce, Delirio/Mouth, Voice, Delirium – Poems of Italia & Amore with consiglieri Prof. Enzo Castel di Lama and the brilliant Italian poetess R. Alba della Sora. See About the Blogger for more details.
The poet recently withdrew her manuscript from Salmon Poetry, Ireland, to protest anti-American sentiment tacitly promoted by the publisher amid the horror that is the hegemony of Donald Trump, permitting Irish character assassination of all Americans, when two thirds of the country is in deepest anguish over this criminal president, and when America’s very best is trapped between the yearning to assasinate him and the dwindling hope that the 2020 election will see an end to his fascism.
Andrews earned three degrees at Colorado State University, culminating in the Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing/Poetry, the equivalent of the Ph.D.; she is a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts in Literature. Autumn House Press founder Michael Simms considers Andrews’ work significant for the strength of its voice and mastery of craft. Indeed, as noted, recent kudos include becoming a finalist in the 2014 Autumn House Poetry Prize Contest and to have circa twenty poems appear in Vox Populi, Professor Simm’s content-rich visionary online ‘zine of poetry and politics betweem 2016-17. These may be accessed via typing her name into the Vox search box. A sample poem follows.
Intrepid Eye, Majestic World
How beautiful the eye is, flecked
with the residual color
of the terrain—nightfall
in the blue canyons, goldenrod
selvage of sea cliff. Sun-kissed–
the amplitude of the turning earth.
It is we who slip out of view
of the platinum gaze of the moon,
the blazing and ardent stare
of the sun.
And think of it, lovemaking–
the lover’s darkly intense eye
half-closed in the swoon
the tears brimming at its edges,
above all, inescapable day,
filling the eye to overflowing–
the panorama of living things
against the pale slate
We say that we feast our eyes
upon the Other, the opacity
of the horizon; sentinels,
we look and discern;
is the heart obedient to the eye
or the reverse?
On-living, I claim
the visible; I lock it into the cache
of imagery denoting the world; imagine
the explorer’s gaze,
unflinching at the ice-cap necklace
of a polar sea
or filled with the sunset–
Cortez or Coronado, astounded
by the red bluffs, the tender sweep
of the desert vista—how storied
sleep then rescues us, drawing down
the shades lightly—
Or that we see in concert
with the plenitude of touch—
remarkable, that we name and dream,
envisioning farther terrain even
in the crepuscule, even
it is said, at the moment
when breath releases
the spent body,
when the haggard will
importuned by death
lets go, and the animate “I”–
that sensate cluster of heartbeat,
vision and yearning–
disperses into evening air.
This poem first appeared in Vox Populi in 2016.
More of Andrews’ work is posted to La Parola Vivace and her memoir Nightfall in Verona.
The poet is an inveterate blogger and civil rights advocate, founding a disability advocacy organization in the early 2000’s and blogging civil rights and politics at this web address. She lives with her companion fiction-writer Jack Brooks and five cream-coated English Golden Retrievers in the Poudre River valley in northern Colorado. contact info in sidebar.
.For a closer look at the poet’s remarkable oeuvre & the influence of place and family upon her work, please migrate to About the Blogger. Scroll down to current post.