What I like about Jesslyn Delia Smith:
a survey of her poetry & review of “rescue poems” (In/Words, 2011)
Marble is the cross-section of a cloud.
What, then, if the forms we know
are sections of a full body
whose dimensions are timeless
and bodiless, like poems,
whose unseen dimension is the mind?
Louis Dudek, from Poems from Atlantis (Golden Dog Press, 1980)
In his introduction to The Long Poem Anthology (1979), Michael Ondaatje pontificates on a genre coined the “serial poem”—a much-loved form in the 1970s, and most popular among the contributors he anthologized. He addresses some interesting characteristics of his contributors: “In the 70’s some poets talked out loud and some listened. These poets listen to everything” (13). I like the distinction made here because it suggests the work of serial poets is quiet, modest and deeply personal. This is also what I like about the poetry of Jesslyn Delia Smith.
I have no doubt that Jesslyn writes frequently. Her blog (http://jesslyndelia.com/) is updated regularly with new poetry and (more recently) prose. She’s had 4 chapbooks published in the last 2 years, most by In/Words press, one self-published: so it’s the first really warm day (In/Words: 2009), doorhinge (In/Words: 2009), sun, scrambled (self-published: 2010), rescue poems (In/Words: 2011). Their thematic content is constant: love, memory, allegiance. It is the slight shifts in tone between the individual poems that add depth to her body of work and give her poems a remarkable accumulative quality deserving of attention [...]
Read the full article in the February 2011 issue of Bywords here.