Monday, February 20, 2023

Jennifer Reeser

Jennifer Reeser is a formalist Louisiana poet who has published five collections, including: An Alabaster Flask, and Sonnets from the Dark Lady and Other Poems, which was a finalist for the Donald Justice Prize.

She has been highly praised by such formalist poets as X.J Kennedy and A.M. Juster, who called her “…our top Native American poet.” As a translator, she has published poetry from Russian (Anna Akhmatova), French, and various Native American languages.

Her recent collection Indigenous (Able Muse Press) was awarded “Best Poetry Book of 2019” by Englewood Review of Books. Her new book Strong Feather is scheduled to appear this March.

The following poem is from Indigenous and was included in the anthology Christian Poetry in America Since 1940 (2022, Paraclete Press).

O Great Spirit

Great Spirit of the God who is alive,
Whose risen Son I seek before the dawn
Who makes the black and gold sunflower thrive
The earthworm loosen soil beneath the lawn;
Great Spirit, grant my late grandmothers’ looks
Attend me while I rub her cherry hutch.
Great Spirit, grant my late grandfather’s books
Preserve his signature I love to touch.
Surround and show to me that massive clouds
Of witnesses ― undauntable or docile.
Allow their countenances to enshroud
My shoulders, spoken of by Your Apostle.
Send generous Nunnehi to my steeple,
Returning me at last to my dark people.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.