At once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare
possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties,
mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
– John Keats
About Annette’s Poems
What is the word I want, I ask myself, to describe the unique quality I find in each of the poems by Annette Allen? What is it that she does in poem after poem that both amazes and satisfies me?
Lying in bed in the dark and the quiet, body at ease, and mind at rest alone with itself, I find myself wanting the simple and true word, a sort of key that unlocks the treasure chest of her achievement, poem after poem.
And I find it.
Each poem is a gathering.
They are gatherings.
[Later, I will think “gatherings like a granary.”]
Each poem embraces complexity, and through memory and abstraction, past and present, through comparison and contrast, through perceiving how each moment is inhabited by complexity—both what it is and what it is not—there is not mere reconciliation but celebration—the celebration of what is.
In what is, Annette Allen gives us both what was, (AND, here’s the miracle:)
and what ever shall be.
Why? And how?
The answer to both questions is the same: in her work, she has unified craft and intuition, intellect and emotion, call and response, and the result is the creation of art. Art that partakes of the eternal.
The mastery of, the achieve of, (as Gerard Manley Hopkins writes in his poem “The Windhover”) the thing I’m calling ART. In poem after poem, her poems, the artifact of the poem rides the air. It holds us miraculously aloft in the moment. It defies the forces that would bring us down and leave us shattered. She shows us how to soar above individual pain and gigantic atrocity.
One may need to read these poems more than once. So what? They stand there, sculptures of the airy word, beautiful and replete with meaning, lighted from within, waiting for thee.
--Sena Jeter Naslund
Author of Ahab’s Wife; Four Spirits;
The Fountain of St. James Court, or Portrait of the Artist
as an Old Woman
In The Feral Condition, Gaylord Brewer explores a polarity in nature that seems to encompass the views of both Hobbes and Rousseau. As he searches at home and abroad through the feral world, which includes some humans, he experiences its beauty and mystery but also its persistent, unsparing violence—“A goldfinch greets with melancholy song! / Meanwhile, every step another bloodbath.” This external polarity reflects an inner one in which he feels both a part of nature and separate from it. He finally achieves an intimate connection that, however fleeting, darkish, and imperfect, fulfills. But the most striking elements in this collection come from Brewer’s great heart, sharp eye, and lyric brilliance.
Now available on Amazon.
“I have often said that good poetry makes you think or feel deeply; great poetry makes you do both. And great poetry is not found in lofty ideals like Truth, Nature, God, or Love. It happens where life happens, down in the midst of things, in the spaces between our hearts. Angela Jackson-Brown’s House Repairs, is great poetry. In it you will find what makes poetry necessary. You will find honesty and pain, beauty and atonement in these poems, where the power of strangled and realized possibility sings…”
– Robert Gray
Author of Drew: Poems from Blue Water & Jesus Walks the Southland
Now available for purchase on Amazon.
Angela Jackson-Brown’s autobiographical collection of poetry “House Repairs.”
Kate Mildew is a writer, youth worker, and drummer based in Toronto. She writes about money, disability, work, illness, rocks, nuclear waste, parenthood and more. Kate has self-published two comic books and half a dozen poetry zines and chapbooks. Recently you can find her writing in the 'Music Men Ruined for Me' collection, issue 8 of Feelings Journal and issue 3 of A Velvet Giant. Kate writes the monthly poetry newsletter Accumulation.
Continue to her poetry and other place holders from the contest..