Friday, September 12, 2014

Poetry Friday: Josephine Jacobsen, A Poet's Poet.

[Quick note: Don't miss Sylvia Vardell's wonderful article w/ teacher resources about poetry and social justice.]

For my Poetry Friday contribution, I hope you'll head over to Numero Cinq, which has just published my essay about the marvelous and woefully undersung poet, Josephine Jacobsen. In the essay I take a close look at three of her poems, and I consider the fate -in general - of "a poet's poet," which Jacobsen was.  To entice you over to Numero Cinq, I offer here the first two stanzas from her beautiful poem, "Of Pairs" :

The mockingbirds, that pair, arrive
one, and the other; glossily perch
respond, respond, branch to branch.
One stops and flies. The other flies.
Arrives, dips, in a blur of wings,
lights, is joined. Sings. Sings.

Actually, there are birds galore:
bowlegged blackbirds, brassy as crows;
elegant ibises with inelegant cows;
hummingbirds' stutter on air;
tilted over the sea, a man-of-war
in a long arc without a feather's stir.

[read the rest over at Numero Cinq.]
For the Poetry Friday round-up, head over to lovely Renee La Tulippe's NO WATER RIVER.


  1. I know what I'll be doing after work today--being introduced to the "poet's poet." Thanks, because I don't believe I've ever come across Jacobsen before.

  2. I don't know this poet's work either but will click over and learn more. That first stanza here is absolutely alive.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This paints a picture in my mind, Julie! I love poems that are vivid!

  4. Your post makes me wish I could be your student (for an entire course, not just one post at a time)! You uncovered meanings and techniques in "Of Pairs" that I would not have found on my own.

    I see what you mean about the difference between a "people's poet" and a "poet's poet."

  5. So much to stop, re-read, and marvel at in this poem!

  6. Julie, your article about Josephine (where in Maryland??) connects to your comment on my post directly. How we admire someone who can exert that degree of effort, crafting something that delivers a new text each time we read it...and yet how purely fine it is to just speak, sense and swallow one of those "rhymes of joy," sometimes.

    And also: what Mary Lee said.

  7. Heidi, all I can find about where Jacobsen lived is that she attended Baltimore schools as a child, and her death was recorded in Cockeysville (Baltimore County) though by that time she might have been in a care facility (in her nineties...?)

  8. I spent some lovely time with my afternoon coffee getting acquainted with this new-to-me poet and getting reacquainted with the joy that is reading your words as you share a treasured poet and her poems with us.

  9. Thanks to all who have enjoyed the Jacobsen piece. It's such a pleasure to introduce her work to more people.

  10. I love that she has Estragon and Vladimir discussing poetry in their moments of waiting. Thanks for the introduction, Julie.

  11. Yes, Michelle, I love that bit, too!

  12. I don't think I'll ever read anything about mockingbirds now without thinking about the Mockingjay (Hunger Games). Loved reading this poem, thank you for sharing.