by Jenny Drai
$16.00 | August 2015
Open [ the door ] to stanzas of dream and enchantment, to chambers of magnetic fields, to the mezzanine of spellbinding diction, to the balcony of this passion play. And “how do I wish / to approach autobiography?” asks the poem quietly, thunderously. Like the journal intime and the Märchen, like Klee’s Angelus Novus, [ the door ] melds archaic time with contemporary measure, blending with delicate accomplished lines “the goddess of cereals,” “the fate of the hive,” and “the Keystone pipeline.” Open [ the door ] anywhere and swoon!
Jenny Drai’s [ the door ], like a medieval tapestry, is vivid with color, suggests scene and story, and yet—with the tensile elasticity of textile—warps and shifts the reader’s attention in startling ways. As Drai writes, “again, again, I discover a new route.” This book weaves word and idea, transforming the fabric of language into the skin of the poem. This is no mere poetry collection; [ the door ] commands our full humanity—domestic, transcendent, witty, insistent:
“really it’s about learning to live with one’s feet on the ground : while beating one’s bright wings / to keep the room warm”
Flashing with intelligence and urgency, “[ the door ]” opens to glimpses of bees’ exoskeleton frailty, the frailty of our interlaced psychological/social narratives, our own frailties, and what can be broken and remade in the “arterial life” of experience. Buzzing with unexpected turns and junctures, Drai’s athletically agile language excavates fissures in our intricate collective hive, a “bed of uncertainty and universe” where new openings are threaded. Readers are immersed in layers and layers of iridescence and injury, governing texts, recoded fairytale, etymologies, and fleet lucid perceptions that form our fabled wing-soft beings. Identity and history are convincingly unstill in this transfixing collection.
Endi Bogue Hartigan
About the Author
Jenny Drai’s poetry has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Handsome, Jellyfish, and New American Writing, among many other journals. She is the author of Letters to Quince (winner of the Deerbird Novella Prize from Artistically Declined Press) and two poetry chapbooks—The New Sorrow Is Less Than the Old Sorrow (Black Lawrence Press) and :Body Wolf: (Horse Less Press). [ the door ] is her first full-length collection of poetry. Two additional collections are forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. In addition, a novel she wrote was a finalist in the Subito Press Prose Prize. She has worked every odd job imaginable and lived all over the place in the United States and Germany. She currently resides in Bonn, Germany, where she is at work on another novel. You can find her at jennydraiisferal.tumblr.com or follow her on Twitter @jenny_drai.