Sunday, October 14, 2018

Diversion: Northeast Kingdom Poetry from Judith Janoo, January 2019

I just got word that Judith Janoo's very place-based poetry collection AFTER EFFECTS will be published in January, by Finishing Line Press. I wish I had it already, since there's an amazing poem on stacking wood in there, and this brisk weather has me thinking fondly of woodpiles past.

But more than the seasons and scents of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Janoo's collection tenderly pulls open the sheathing around our family intimacies: how we live with each other and manage to still like and love, despite winter's incursions that shorten tempers, limit tolerance for "one more hard thing," keep us enclosed together more often than we may wish to be. Piling details in neat stacks, this poet paints a world -- one that is hers, but that we also may recognize is closely related to ours. Say, first cousins. Or step-siblings. Or neighbors.

I'll put just a taste of the woodpile poem here -- and you can already pre-order the book, in case you don't trust your memory to hold onto this all the way to January's deep snows.

From "Stacking Wood":

The first row on pallets for airflow,
coarse, split, no two wedges
the same, but fitted
between two rock maples,
bookends against the drop of light
and months ahead when
it feels like it’s all
coming down.

Smell of moss,
pepper, feel of leather,
splinters of sand.
Alone stacking bones
to last out the cold.

See the entire poem on this poet's website:

No comments: