||Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc.
||Jul 1 2000
Poetry/prose-30 poems/3 prose pieces.
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Word Wrangler Publishing, Inc.
Feeding Ground follows the spirit by nipping at the heels of moments in the author's life. It is a collection of works that probes with questions, yet wonders at any answers that might be offered, if perhaps the answers weren't there all along. It is a collection that speaks to the underlying currents of everyday life, and offers a place for the spirit to dwell.
Hint Of Rain
I watched clouds break from Sun this evening,
just as he dipped his brush in pastel and colored my smile.
I had been wondering at gray,
the feel of it lifted from skin,
For months now, we've been grieving in our own arid ways, gathering piles of dust
accusing them of their own creation,
for bits of our skin taken by heat.
I wondered if today might be different with its cool fog,
clouds grazing on the Valley as if it were a rich field in need
of trimming. I wondered if they might wet our grief with
gentle and hungry tongues, offer some respite with a storm perhaps,
Sun took his place just before twilight,
clouds lifted and scurried to the East, broken as we by his appearance.
I heard they feasted northwest of here. Perhaps they had grown too full,
become empty and tired by the time they arrived to do anything
but brush us with a cool reminder of hope.
Now, my smile reaches to Night with the brilliance of grief given color.
The breeze winks, the moon nods;
it is enough.
© 2000 Jessica A. Hartig
Feeding Ground by Jessica A. Hartig is exactly what it says. Her poetry is a sumptuous feast that nourishes the heart and the soul while her prose feeds the mind with a blend of subtle sensory wordcrafting.
Jessica uses language that is lyrical both in the flow and the musicality of her words yet simple and profound in their expression and meaning. She poetically and emphatically reveals both Nature and the nature of the beast. Without visible eroticism, the delectable taste of romanticism and aroma of sexuality seethe just beneath the surface of the lines. As we ingest her words, poetry, and prose through her words and unique vision, we become part of the rich and full heart that is Jessica the poet.
I have read Jessica Hartig's collection of poems, Feeding Ground, several times in the last two weeks, and each time I reread a poem, I discover something new. The poems are both playful and serious, a prime example being "Notebook Thoughts in Red." In this one poem, Ms. Hartig goes from a bra hooked on a car antenna to the more serious matter of her miscarriages. And yet this poem maintains a consistency of tone as the author reveals the many layers of her identity.
That perhaps is the most enjoyable part of this collection: the author gives us an uncompromising portrait of herself, with each poem representing a different brushstroke. It is as if Feeding Ground is a textured picture by an impressionist painter. And just as is the case with such an impressionist work of art, it is possible to enter these poems and constantly see a subject from a different angle. That is the richness of the book's style and content.
The poems also mix a soft sensuality with rich descriptions of nature. This is most evident in "Mermaid's Tongue" and "Swollen Tongue," but the reader will see both of these elements intertwined throughout the entire collection. And perhaps "Swollen Tongue" is my favorite poem of the lot, for it seems to describe the author's very purpose in committing her thoughts to paper. In this piece, she writes:
I taste it,
I tell you.
There is life
beyond the silence.
It is this deeper life of dreams and intuitions, not always accessible, that Jessica Hartig describes in Feeding Ground. In this remarkable collection, the poet will enable you to taste that deeper life as well.
William Hammett 8-29-00
On your screen or in your hand you are holding or beholding the first collection of poems by Jess Hartig. Lucky you!
As a reader on the Short Poetry Board of the Amazing Instant Novelist section of America Online, I have been aware of Jess's work for about 2 years. In that time, I have watched her grow from a poet of promise with a distinctive voice to a poet with that promise fulfilled.
What makes Jess's voice so distinctive is that her work is at once overtly poetic and comfortably colloquial, yet compromising neither ideal. Jess's poetry is replete with beautiful imagery - much of it nature-based, particularly vivid with sky images - no doubt at least partially a result of her living in Arizona, a grandly dramatic state with skies to match. There is an erotic sense in Jess's work as well, though it is more implied than explicit. And her love of words as playthings is evident throughout.
None of this distracts the reader from the realization that there is flesh and blood and feeling in these poems along with thought and compassion. Jess once described her life to me as "a bad TV movie," yet one gets the inescapable sense that while the star of this movie might seem reckless at times in her journey through life, there is a very sane and wise observer on this trip. Consider these poems as notes taken from Jess's journey - a very personal, enjoyable, occasionally dangerous, but always exciting. An interesting journey through a life lived to the fullest. I enjoyed this trip immensely. Carne Lowgren, Bishop, CA
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