Poetry 365

March 22, 2013

Jessica Greenbaum
Poet Jessica Greenbaum

This month for Poetry 365 we’re highlighting Jessica Greenbaum’s eloquent new volume The Two Yvonnes.  Chosen for Paul Muldoon’s series of Princeton Contemporary Poets, the upstreet editor’s second collection employs prose-like free verse, sonnets, and a single pantoun in explorations of the urban everyday akin to Elizabeth Bishop and W.G. Sebald.  Organic and unhurried, these 42 poems showcase what PW called Greenbaum’s “great intelligence, skill with abstraction, humor, and talent for endings” while raising her writing “far above the mundane.”  So check out this excellent new collection, sample a poem below, and clear your calendar… our National Poetry Month celebration is about to begin.

Sonnets for the Autobiographical Urban Dweller

This little room fills up with light. It’s big
when you consider all the ways to re-
configure books, or how the walls bow, rigged
to hold whole lives, which, often, neighbors see
and hear. The urge to frame one’s tale takes hold,
then, mirrored, gives you pause. This window’s wide,
but honesty as policy? Truth told:
to share shared stories we both show and hide,
or coat our private parts of speech, because
regardless of our tender subjects we
tilt, bare, toward sunlit panes, parlaying flaws
to blushed, polite applause. It’s our esprit.
Dark days I tend the window box–looks good–
then pull the shades down on the neighborhood.

two yvonnes.

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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