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Jenne’ Rodey. Andrews is a Western and Southwestern American lyric poet, her life and work informed by the fact that she is the last woman in a line of pioneers who came West after the Civil War to territorial Albuquerque; she bears the first name of one John Jenne who sailed to the New World on the Little Anne. The surname Jenne (pro. “jenn-y” was grandfather to one Naomi Ruth Jenne who married her great-grandfather A.M. Coddington; her other maternal great grandfather was Bernard Shandon Rodey, whose passion for New Mexico Territory saw his charter of the first university, UNM and other resources online as New Mexico gained her statehood.
Andrews’ poetry is noted for its rich musicality, a glittering, faceted brilliance of imagery, and characteristically unabashed emotional risks. Her influences include, d’accorde, the American Confessional School, the work of Theodore Roethke, Tess Gallagher, D.H. Lawrence, and Walt Whitman..
Autumn House founder Michael Simms considers Andrews’ work significant for the strength of its voice and mastery of craft. Indeed, her most recent kudos include being 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. Her poem “Becoming Leda” is slated to appear next year in the magazine.
In 2018 or 2019, of especial interest and great meaning to the poet, a book length collection of poetry, And Now, the Road, including many of the Vox Populi poems, will be published by the preeminent international house Salmon Poetry Ltd, Knockeven, the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland, Jessie Lendennie, Editor and Publisher.
.The poet’s work has appeared in literary journals since ’69. Early mentors include Robert Bly, Canadian poet Tom Wayman, former Colorado Poet Laureate Mary Crow, master poet Bill Tremblay, Pulitzer Prize winner Maxine Kumin, memoirist Patricia Hampl, and other luminaries of her generation.
Andrews’ early collections of poetry include In Pursuit of the Family, edited and published by Robert Bly and the Minnesota Writers’ Publishing House and Reunion, Lynx House Press, Christopher Howell, Publisher. Lucien Stryk was a champion of the title poem of the first collection, publishing it with other work in Heartland II: A Collection of Midwestern Poets, Northern Indiana Press, reading it on National Public Radio as “an archetypal midwestern poem.” Before ever completing a B.A., she was four-year, full-time Poet in Residence to the St. Paul Schools, and won both a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
An expanded chapbook from Finishing Line Press, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, appeared in 2013, receiving high praise from her contemporaries and a lauding letter from Mr. Bly. Copies of this book are available from Finishing Line; signed copies are available from the poet via email@example.com.
In 2019 in addition to And Now, the Road, the poet will publish a collection of Italian translations, Bocca, Voce, Delirio, Poems of Italia and Amore to its own blog, her consiglieri the painter/scholar Enzo Castel di Lama and the Italian poet R. Alba di Sora, where it will stand, one hopes, in perpetuity as companion to her self-published memoir, Nightfall in Verona.
Roots, Travel and Passions
Andrews’ poetry is imbued with a strong sense of place, including her native New Mexico, Colorado and seven years in the 70’s living in Minnesota.
What more can I tell you of this place,
where the bosque and the barrio
are without seam, newly cut alfalfa
curing, the hairpin road around a pond
where the blue heron is attentive
to the rain—that the near pine-furred
foothills contain us in a river valley
thick with cottonwoods, among them,
small wooden houses built a lifetime ago,
sagging porches leaning toward the dark–
merely, that at nightfall,someone plays
Brahms on her baby grand, warped door
open to the late summer–that far off
on the prairie, a broken-tooth moon rises
on the verging autumn; to be sure, all
is green and ripe beneath this undaunted
and guiding refraction lighting the highway
west, the corn tasseled, abundant–
all of the sun-warm plunder at its zenith
and for the taking, but there is dearth
on the wind, frost-fire at daybreak–
the horses look out at the night in canny
and ardent discernment, tulip ears forward
and the spindled paint foals I watched rise
from the earth through my binoculars
are already tall; I fear for them
when the time comes to rope them away
from the mares, ship them
to the indifferent sale-barn plainsong
of the auctioneers– I think then not
of the fate that awaits so much beauty
in the rouged and voluble dusk,
the vintage lemon-globed lamps lighting
the way across the surging green river,
but how the days fold into themselves,
stained pages of a lifetime counting down,
nights sundered by great owls seeing
into the very earth, then aloft against
the transient dappled moon, bearing
our alloyed dreams on, in luminous
and heavy-bodied flight.
In 1974, invited to Europe by friend and fellow poet Caroline Marshall, the poet traveled to Italy, ultimately taking a train alone down the coast to Reggio Calabria to rendezvous with a young Calabrese she met in Verona. She became fluent in Italian, and has a great affinity for southern Italy and Sicily. The trip spawned the aforementioned projects.
Returning to Colorado from Minnesota in 1978 as a fully fledged citoyen du monde, the poet completed her bachelor’s degree and went on to take both M.A. and MFA degrees at Colorado State University. She has taught composition, literature and creative writing at CSU and The University of Colorado.
In 2007, continuing to write on the fly but during an intentional break from US Arts and Letters, the poet lost most of her mobility in a fall from a horse. She has since devoted herself to a full time writing life, becoming a proficient political blogger on the grueling tyranny of the Trump presidency, and posting reviews of new collections of poetry to this blog as well as new work of her own to La Parola Vivace.
As of 2018, still assiduously avoiding complex knee surgery, Andrews’ passions include the stewardship of seven English Golden Retrievers including curating the Facebook group Respected International English Golden Retriever Breeders and Fanciers-– four of said dogs having been imported from Europe and Russia; she paints and builds exquisite collectible baby dolls; she is a formidable civil rights advocate and lately, blogs about politics in the retrograde wormhole of the Trump presidency. She lives with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks, and dogs Angelo, Paris, Malibu, Dazzle, Lola, Gabe, Giselle and Scherzo on six acres on the county line in northern Colorado.
From the poet: This blog has been a work in progress since early 2010. Nearly 130,000 overall views and counting. Here is a wonderful compliment from a friend and blog follower: “Your creative gifts, your activism, and your sharp intellect make this world a better, more transparent, more honest, beautiful place.”
You can read much more about me here. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I am on Facebook at Jenne R Andrews, and Twitter as jenandrewspoet.
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