||Poets Corner Press
A 25-page chapbook from Poets Corner Press. Available from the author for
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Poets Corner Press
Taking the Road Where It Leads is a chapbook by Andrena Zawinski. This is Zawinski's third collection still available in print. The poems are landscapes of living addressing love, loss, and issues of social concern. The poems are serious, language rich, energetic, and rhythmical. They accomplish what poetry should--transport the reader outside of the self and simultaneously deeper into the self.
The Poet Driving
at the podium, drives
the crowd. And reeling,
as if taking on mountainous S curves,
or hydroplaning minefields,
the poet maps metaphors
in shag bark and hickory, staggering
the dappled sundown.
This could be
Kansas, Saigon, Mozambique, Peoria,
a road, bridge, underpass
where the poet dresses deathbeds
in thin sheets of memory.
The clenched fist
becomes an open hand,
fingers that point
press into prayer.
And our silences
grow ravenous for this.
We choke down whole landscapes,
drink in cloud bursts, throb
with the starlit sky. We lean into the words
like a slow dance pinned to ourselves
like a corsage, like a lover, like a poem,
like the language
Andrena Zawinski is the poet we find when we’re in luck. The author is a visual artist as well, creating a discernible and credible world so trustworthy that we enter each poem again, and want to stay there. Zawinski orders a theater of journeys with poetic systems generating the lands she’s been and people she’s loved. Form is the way we hold our art, and this writer knows how it nets passion. Taking The Road Where It Leads is a series of clearly explained choices in living. Traveling these emotional and actual landscapes, in the poet’s presence and with her guidance, we’re destined to places of beauty, textual importance and riches, in the best possible company.
Producer/host, “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”
The palimpsest theme and quality of these poems is beautiful. Time and places, ghosts, people and children “all over the world” pass through her, the poet as conduit. She enters time, “there is long ago and long to come.” There is who we become, our faces a face in the crowd, one of many faces. The child she once was, the father, the mother, the house in her heart, the trees and fields and cities that we are now, the workers, Steinbeck’s ghost among the pickers, pen in one hand, pail in the other. Even in the grief and horror there is tenderness—homeless lovers and “bodies hung like charred rag dolls above the Euphrates.” Andrena Zawinski makes cries like a bird, gives out sounds of grief like a dove. And all the way she keeps defining what poetry is. Her poems are like tender kisses at our necks. We become like the many birds in them.
Sharon Doubiago: Author, Love on the Streets, Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh, 2008)
As the title suggests, the poems in this collection embrace many landscapes. From California to South Carolina, from Pennsylvania to Prague, Zawinski’s strong descriptive powers evoke places – and imagined places – with energy and precision. The language of these poems is taut, and their sometimes formal shapeliness saves Taking the Road Where it Leaves from any hint of prosaic travelogue. These are serious, richly metaphorical poems. Take them where they lead you!
Maggie Anderson: Poet, author of Windfall: New and Selected Poems (Pitt Poetry Series)
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