Book of Days

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bookofdays.jpgI hope my sister won't be too put out if I mention the publication of her third book of poetry, Book of Days.

The official introduction to the book on the FootHills Publishing's website mentions her previous poetic and playwriting accomplishments, but fails to tell of the seed of her poetry--a teenaged girl who spent her summers taking photographs of leaves and branches, roll after roll of film shot into the trees of our woodland neighborhood. It neglects to describe how poetry lives in her. She wakes every morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am to write in her journal (on paper with a pen, no less) before sending her daughter off to school and herself off to teach poetry to schoolchildren.

It is an unfair omission. Fortunately, Jenn's poem Omission does not miss the mark.

Omission

I write to you on cream paper with a watermark,
the kind that comes with lined envelopes
packaged in a box with a flat satin bow.
My script rolls in the safety of April as I tell
you about things you already know - how spring
connects the dots to form its landscape. The pages
fill quickly, the way strong women taught me.

I take an entire paragraph to describe the flowering
dogwood outside my kitchen window, how I am drawn
to the morning light of this month, the chickadees
that punctuate the feeder, that magnolia on fire.

On the third page, I stick with the comfort of the daily,
how my life is awash in Shakespeare, ninth graders
and the cruelest joy of untangling the language
of Romeo and Juliet. I say it's not quite a triumph,
fourteen is a tough age for understanding paradox,
I can tell by their gaping mouths when I say,
"in a minute there are many days" or "thou day in night."

I want to be cut out in little stars. How do I
close this letter? I sign in slow loops, seal
the envelope and place the stamp of Khalo
in its upright position. From their graves
the women of my family sigh and slip off their gloves.

-- Jennifer Hill-Kaucher

Book of Days available via FootHills Publishing for $14.00. If you're keen for a live sample, Jenn is giving readings in Pennsylvania in the upcoming weeks.

Fri, Dec 17, 7 pm
Deitrich Theatre Art Center, Tunkhannock, PA

Fri, Dec 30th, 8 pm
Test Pattern, 334 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA

Jan 15, 2005, 7 pm,
Barnes and Noble, Arena Hub Plaza Wilkes Barre, PA

4 Comments

I didn't know your sister writes poetry- quite beautiful!

Put out??? I am teary with your description. I am proud to be your sister. I hope you will like the book (one on the way soon!), which is dedicated to all the women in my (our) family.

Jenn, What a breathtaking poem! Gave me chills--Jean

I studied English literature in university. We slid through Cummings, slept through Kierkegaard and wondered about Kafka. Omission is the type of poetry that gave hope in stale winter rooms with soul-lost professors. Beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it. Best wishes on the publication. And thank you for teaching the next generation.

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  • Seth: I studied English literature in university. We slid through Cummings, read more
  • Jean: Jenn, What a breathtaking poem! Gave me chills--Jean read more
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  • Kimura: I didn't know your sister writes poetry- quite beautiful! read more

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