Monday, July 22, 2013

"The Leaves in Her Shoes" by J.L. Jacobs

Not only has J.L. Jacobs been a part one of the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series in the past and delivered an alluring poetry reading; she was also one of my mentors and favorite professors of Creative Writing when I was a student at the University of Oklahoma. She sparked my interest and love of poetry and was an inspiration to all of her students. I saw this article posted on Facebook. Hope you enjoy it and I highly recommend buying her book, The Leaves in Her Shoes.

"I don't think I've ever read a first book of poems so haunted as The Leaves in Her Shoes. Reading these poems is like listening to snatches of song or overhearing half-sentences, mutterings, broken chants of a lost tribe. J. L. Jacobs assembles these shards into a startling and unforgettable collage." --Carol Muske
J. L. Jacobs' latest collection of poetry, The Leaves in Her Shoes, blends aspects of the everyday and the spiritual, infusing simple domestic rituals with a latent wonder. Spare but supple, this poetry manifests a life tied to the earth. Evoking earlier centuries, "hidden heirlooms," the poems provide a sense of the past's continuing presence. Bits of earlier poems reappear later, imitating life's circularity. In this poetry, all seasonal patterns and the human rites which match them, be they harvest time or "communion at two Eastertides," take on a certain mysticism. The human body exists as an extension of the earth, so that a woman's death is "a translation of her into landscape." The poems chart the geography of daily life, mapping not only "a land of bogs and swamps" but also the path of "a wagonload of flowering bulbs." J.L. Jacobs mixes with a deft hand the "voice above," the voice of the spiritual and divine, and the "voice below," that of the earth and life. 

J.L. Jacobs was born in 1967 in a small town in the rural South. She began her own "project" of collecting folklore, particularly that of womenfolks, at the age of eleven. She did "carry those bug-eaten books out of the barn," and they, along with the Matriarchs she learned from, are woven into her work. She has a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and an M.F.A. in poetry from Brown University. In 1992, Leave Books published her chapbook Varieties of Inflorescence. J.L. Jacobs' work has appeared in many literary journals, including New American Writing, First Intensity, New Orleans Review, Five Fingers Review, and Talisman. She edited the 1995-96 season Of Chance Abstractions. J.L. Jacobs resides in Valliant, Oklahoma.

River geography at first hand

An error in geography
The timber they kept back
Things not explicitly remembered