Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 12:04 am by M. in , ,    2 comments
A new poetry book by Jessie Janeshek with several allusions to Lucy Snowe from Villette:
Invisible Mink
Jessie Janeshek
Iris Books
ISBN: 978-1-60454-211-0

“It’s staying light later,” the narrator of the opening poem tells us, “I’m in the mood to meditate Bette Davis….” The poems deliver verses on seductive female stars from the films of the 1930s and beyond. Like the stars they’re watching, the poems become the empowered ones; language is theirs to play with, to betray (“How did the wedding ring slip off Pat’s finger?”)
Each poem is impeccably crafted, syllable by syllable. The line breaks are as crisp as a good Pinot Grigio. No, wait, for the Bette and Lucy poems, pour yourself a martini. The Perpignan poems might like a tumbler of rosé.
—From the preface by Marilyn Kallet 
The Knoxville News Sentinel gave us the clue to the Brontë references:
She imagines how famous characters from literary or cinema lore - like Charlotte Brontë's Lucy Snowe or actress Joan Crawford's character in "Rain" - would react to something in her life or current events. (Allison Rupp)
Indeed the Brontës are one of the main influences of this work as the author herself says in the Critical Introduction to her own Doctoral Dissertation:
Poetry by Mary Coleridge, Christina Rossetti, and Emily Brontë, and novels by Brontë (Wuthering Heights), Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre and Villette) and Elizabeth Stoddard (The Morgesons), are among the works that have inspired me to target the “home” as the not-so-comfortable “place” where poetry originates in many of the poems included in Invisible Mink. (...)
The Lucy poems, most of which are included in section two, are influenced by the character Lucy Snowe in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Villette. (...)  I was originally intrigued by Brontë’s Lucy Snowe because of the inherent contrasts of her character; her incredibly “cool” exterior self masks her madly passionate interior self,
both of which are explored via the plot of Brontë’s novel as the seemingly-reserved Lucy learns to live as a teacher at a girls’ school in France, suppressing her unrequited love for Monsieur Paul, a professor at the school.
Poems which feature Lucy include Lucy Fragment InterludeLife's Work; Beyond Self-Help; Lucy in Wien, Looking at Brueghel’s Hunters in Snow; Post Villette, Part Deux; Prayer for Lucy, December 23rd; Lucy Snowe, Ordinary Day and Lucy to Erzebet, Watching Conquest.

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  1. Thanks so much for including news on my book in this post! Very cool.
    --Jessie J.

  2. I like this post 'cause the information it's complete. Please keep sharing stuff like this. Keep up the good work.