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Motherhouse

Poems

by Kathleen Jesme

Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize Series

104 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / None

Poetry

  Paperback / 9780807130445 / March 2005

In Motherhouse, Kathleen Jesme takes the reader on a journey with a young novice through the heart of Mystery. Jesme's poems, which investigate religious life in a convent in the 1960s, are assembled from many fragments: juxtapositions of place and time (childhood and novitiate), shifting scale (the minuteness of an "old beige comb from home," the boundlessness of a "three-axled God"), and varying poetic forms. Jesme explores the hidden, the provisional, the silent—that which does not obey the rules of the light or submit to its boundaries.

An intensely lyrical work, Motherhouse is a cloth woven from disparate voices and structures, expressing both the deep divisions of the self and the longing for a whole that may be ultimately shaped.

The convent, then prairie: stretches
itself across the Great Plains,

grabs the bank of the Red River of the North
in one hand
and the Rockies in the other

and pulls: you can see
until your sight fails

nothing else
is in the way

where something other should be
there is only your darkening
sight

resistance
like bone, filleted clean in the wind
which comes
from everywhere

From Motherhouse by Kathleen Jesme. Copyright 2004 by Kathleen Jesme. All rights reserved. 

Kathleen Jesme is the author of the poetry collection Fire Eater. Her work has appeared in many fine journals, including Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, and Laurel Review. She lives on five acres of wood and fields near St. Paul, Minnesota.

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