Elizabeth Jacobson is the author of a chapbook, A Brown Stone (Dancing Girl Press), and a full-length collection, Her Knees Pulled In (Tres Chicas Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2017 — Are the Children Make Believe? from Dancing Girl Press and When I Say I Love You What I Mean is I Wouldn’t Leave You from Miriam’s Well. She is the founding director of the WingSpan Poetry Project, a not-for-profit which conducts poetry workshops at shelters in SantaFe, New Mexico and Miami, Florida. WingSpan has received a Community Partnership award from the Esperanza Shelter in New Mexico and two grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Hinchas de Poesia, Indolent Books, JuxtaProse, Orion Magazine, Ploughshares, Plume, Poet Lore, The American Journal of Poetry, The Laurel Review, Women’s Studies and others. Among her awards are the Mountain West Writers’ Award from Western Humanities Review, The Jim Sagel Prize for Poetry from Puerto del Sol, and a grant from New Mexico Literary Arts; and her work was selected as a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s 2017 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, her residencies include the Atlantic Center for the Arts and Herekeke.
Please see what we are doing at the WingSpan Poetry Project by visiting our blog:
from Ploughshares, 2017
From Miriam’s Well:
3 Questions for Elizabeth Jacobson
Published October 15, 2012 — Miriam Sagan
1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
The poetic line is a continuously endless place of discovery. As human beings it seems that it is so difficult for us to accept the wavering life that is always in front of us. The line helps with this as it lets me be ok with waiting, with stillness, with shouts and chaos – with the loss of control. To wander into and then around in a line of poetry is one of my greatest pleasures as an artist. I find that it is an immense arena of stillness where an energetic, creative mind can practice deeply and transform something seemingly linear into something spacious. Connecting the lines in creation of a poem is so much fun – for me it is like a puzzle – and I get to be a detective as well as a writer.
2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
A few years ago it felt important to me to write a definition of what I thought a poem was. This is what I came up with: A poem is a moment seized in vision, and the sensations of awareness. I like this because a poem seems to come at me through my body, through the senses — it is visual, it is aural. It may have a taste, a smell — and then somehow lands in the mind, like a magpie — begins to scrounge around and flap its hefty wings. This is the physicality of a new poem coming into being.
3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?
The other night I was having dinner with my cousins and their kids, who are 13 and 11 and 11, at their home. I brought them a copy of my book, Her Knees Pulled In, and it was so great that they were all excited about it – even the kids – it was like turning them on to a new cool app – they all wanted to have a look, read some poems, wanted me to read some poems – everyone was engaged and curious. How refreshing it would be if this were the norm. Forget the candles and paper napkins as hostess’s gifts and bring some poetry instead. What saddens me is that this is not the norm in the United States, like in other cultures, where poetry may be what people want to talk about…. don’t turn away from, but rather dive right in and get going.
Full blue harvest moon
the mesa in the distance looks as if it is lit up with lights
blue jackrabbits in the tall grass eating
when they should be hiding from being eaten
the rocks a wavy expanse of phosphorescence
like the curl of ocean waves under the chill aluminum sky
under water that is now air
she finds lava, mica, green stones the color of tarnished copper
all the elements have passed this space
time being kind
lifts its dress and lets her feel the tender parts
lets her see how the body yields to everything in between hot and cold
inconsistency the steady backbone of this natural place
is what balances a large rock on top of a small one
carves holes in boulders with its storming saliva and breath
she tastes the contradiction on her arm
salty sea air skin in the red dusty desert
her clothes peel off like scale
she shivers, sweats
irony offers its hand, polishes her in the tin of the moment
from Her Knees Pulled In
Tres Chicas Books, 2012
| 2012 © Elizabeth Jacobson | Comments always welcome