Jenn Givhan reads from debut poetry book LANDSCAPE WITH HEADLESS MAMA at University of Central Missouri

My One-Hundredth Journal Publication up at Origins!

virgen de guadalupeI’ve been working like a madwoman sending out my poems into the world nearly as long as my son has been alive (I started submitting when he was one, so I mark my poetry career by his life, because truly, I’m not sure either would have been possible without the other–how the imaginary shaped reality, how I wrote my story into existence, realizing we could adopt after writing poems about being a mother and mourning the children we’d lost to infertility and miscarriage)… Anyway, all of that to say, since he’s been alive, I’ve now published poems in one hundred journals! Today my work went up at Origins Journal, marking this moment for my poems–and I’m so thankful. For the life that brings the poems, and for the poems that keep giving to my life.

“Your body is a knife—

both slicing point

& handle.” –from “Self-Defense”

 

Here are “Leaving Anthony” and “Self-Defense–Or What I Wish Mama Would Have Taught Me” up at Origins!

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Jenn

Miscarriage

Jennifer Givhan

MiscarriagIMG_0098e

In a field where a hot air balloon waits tethered,
children balancing umbrellas and wearing party hats

plant birthday bouquets; where they grow
the swollen bulbs push open the soil

smelling of clay and fingerpaint. Even the sky
celebrates in reverse, hanging like pigtails from a jungle gym.

Not many daffodils or crickets are lucky enough to become fossils,
but here every joule of heat remains inside the balloon.

One might be tempted to drift away now
rather than later.

IMG_0100

Kindergarten

for Sandy Hook

12/14/12

I gave you extra juice this morning before school because you woke up with a cough. It was either warm apple juice or medicine; you chose juice. I wrapped two jackets over your Spiderman T-shirt because it rained through the night and I didn’t want you to be cold. I thought of keeping you home, but you wanted to play at recess with your best friends. You called everybody your best friend—the boy on the train, once, whom you’d just met. You wanted him to sit with us and watch the movie Cars but his mom wouldn’t let him. You called him your best friend.

I should have kept you home.

I Sing of PCOS

Today in my freshman English class at UNM, a student wrote that she wishes she knew more about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which she has but doesn’t understand. I remember being her–remember reading about PCOS for the first time in SEVENTEEN magazine and thinking, “Hey, most of those symptoms?–I have them!” I remember the fear and uncertainty of such a diagnosis. Of seeing, when my husband and I began trying to have children the first year of our marriage when I was just twenty-one and a grad student, the string of pearls on the sonogram picture of my ovaries, undeniable evidence.

So here, for those women who are dealing with PCOS, whether or not you’re considering trying to become pregnant, are going through infertility, or have just been diagnosed, a link to a site I found so comforting and supportive my first days and weeks of dealing with the diagnosis, and a poem I wrote sometime between dealing with infertility and adopting my sunshine, Jeremiah. And, as most of you know, I then gave birth to my (surprise!) baby girl Adelina a few years after I “gave up trying” to become pregnant…

SOULCYSTERS

Info from their site: “the largest online community of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder of women, affecting as many as 1 in 10. While there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms of PCOS can be managed with proper treatment by a qualified PCOS physican.

Here, at SoulCysters.com, we also believe that we help each other through the PCOS journey. Many of our members have become lifelong friends, helped each other lose weight, and kept up with the birth of our children (yes, you CAN get pregnant with PCOS!)”

JENNIFER GIVHAN

from LOVESONG OF THE BARREN WOMAN
…I sing of PCOS—
That pirate disease, launching its scourge on my red woman’s deck,
goading my dreams as they walk the plank
with a splash and a plop.
I thirst. For round belly flesh.
For a living inner-tube to keep me afloat…
(Read the full poem here, published at The Fertile Source).
* * *
All my best to you, Cysters, and all my love.
Jenn