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Friday, June 7, 2019

Round Two Goes -- Again! -- to Jennifer Clark

I’m so happy that poet Jennifer Clark contacted me this past winter about her new book of poems, A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven, and that she will be my first Thursday Evening Author of 2019, because Jennifer Clark is extraordinary. You think you know what to expect from poetry — and then you read Jennifer Clark. There’s the natural world, of course, in her work, a world traditionally mined by poets since poetry began, but from the heavens above to spiders close at hand, Clark’s eye sees nature anew, drawing connections and analogies as original as the ones she finds in ghastly newspaper tragedies or, to pull back to a happier scene, in the event of a young boy acquiring his first athletic protector. Is there nothing this poet fails to notice and give back to us in a strange and wondrous new light?

Original vision and an original voice are the gifts we receive from a genuine poet. That is, we experience writing that presents the world anew, in a voice on the page that is as individual as a face in a portrait. Clark paints pain wearing with a shock of humor, while in other poems the humor has its own sharp edge. 

Usually when writing about a book of poetry I give a few sample lines. Somehow with this work, I don’t want to take anything out of context. As each poem a unitary whole, so is the collection. As is always the case with the best poetry, each piece merits and rewards re-reading. Others demand it. There’s no way I could take in all the details of “Optimal Foraging Theory” my first time through, but my bafflement did not stand in the way of delight.

Poet and bookseller with poet's previous collection

But you don’t need to take my word for it or wait for June 27. Come in and pick up the book today, and then you will definitely not want to miss Jennifer Clark in Northport.

Her previous visit to Dog Ears Books


Dawn said...

Awww, I'll be in Norway otherwise I might try to make it up there. I am not a big poetry reader and I think I should read more, and hers sounds intriguing!

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, sorry you can't be here, because Jennifer is terrific! She connects well with an audience and has a delightful sense of humor. Friends who caught her last event at Dog Ears are thrilled that she's coming back. But have a great time in Norway!!!