Image by Amanda Elwell, courtesy Red Edge Images Jeanette Lynes JOHN CLARE IN LOVE (1818) He first saw her from afar – tramping across the field, a kind of moving statue, a girl heavy in good places. He scrambled up a pollarded tree to mark her shape and direction. He’d fallen from trees before. This time despite the ale, he hung on. Even from a distance he knew she’d look fine milking cows. Her sturdy form, those hands would draw the milk, would work the teats. High in the tree, he was more besotted than a bird, and happier. His eyes followed her vanishing over the grassed horizon. He climbed to earth, penned two poems to her beauty. Anyone in love will recognize this, the heart’s highest moment, this ledge of clock before the beloved’s mouth opens and awry things go and go until the end of time. But there’d be buckets to fill with wildflowers, the greensward to harvest, before that befell them, her name to discover. Could she love a lime-burner? Li
Showing posts from August, 2014
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Photo by Patrik Jandak The Atwater library in downtown Montreal, housed in an early 20th century building designated a National Historic Site, has hosted excellent poetry readings for several years now. Recently I heard Amanda Jernigan there. The light that came slanting in as she read -- well, it came in through the high arched windows, but might as well have come from her poems. SUSAN GILLIS: What brought you to poetry—or, if you prefer, brought poetry to you—in the first place? AMANDA JERNIGAN: Poetry and family have always been intertwined, for me. My maternal grandfather loved to recite poems, and to read them aloud. I associate my earliest experiences of poetry with his and my grandmother’s house in Virginia: a magical place, full of his books, her dioramas and collections (she was an installation-artist manqué). And also with a family camp in northern Wisconsin, where my grandfather’s mother (this vein runs generations deep) had painted on the cabin rafters lines from Ra
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Amanda Jernigan STILLE There’s always this interval between when you arrive — so easily, it seems, though from so very far away — and when we do, exhausted, footsore, dusty from the road, though we come only from before, and come to think of it it’s marvellous that we catch up with you at all, or that we’re granted this brief Stille , time touching time in some out-of-the-way place. We had to invent angels, to notice. (first published in the Atlanta Review) Image by Girts Gailans, courtesy of Red Edge Amanda Jernigan lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her husband (artist John Haney) and their growing family. She is the author of two books of poems ( Groundwork and All the Daylight Hours ) and of the monograph Living in the Orchard: The Poetry of Peter Sanger. She edited The Essential Richard Outram, and is currently at work on a critical edition of Outram's poems. Read my conversation with Amanda Jernigan here .