Merry Xmas, Headless Mama Returns, & Stranger Things

“O burst O pop O clank
O fuck my swollen bell of  brain. If no candles light
when we scratch the match, has God forsaken?”

(You can read the whole poem here, online at the POETRY Foundation).

Stranger Things Xmas lights Ouija (2)

As a mama poet, I struggle sometimes with feeling less important or relevant or current than if I were writing about other than my experiences raising my children & healing my childhood wounds as I usher my loves through this world, & together we build altars & lay to rest old wounds as we raise the dead into this living & our arms to whatever praise we can find.

I know deep in my heartgut that mama poems are damn important and culturally/socially/emotionally relevant, and I’m so grateful, always, for readers who see/feel the truths my family & I offer in my work. But sometimes when the accolades seem ever evasive & the funds dry up, I forget. In my exhaustion & fear & dailiness, I forget.

This month though, I’ve had the deep joy of publishing my newest work “Headless Mama Returns [Xmas 19 Redux]” in POETRY, my dream magazine, and recording the poem & process for their podcast (you can listen to it at the POETRY Foundation, here). I’m listening to it now, & hearing venerated, respected, wonderfully empathetic poet & editor Don Share talk about the ways in which my poem short-circuits the cultural detritus surrounding our myths about the holiday season & gets to the necessary marrow of mothering — well my mama heart couldn’t be any brighter, even through trauma-induced & seasonal depression, even through difficult suicidal ideations & the deep physical and emotional pain of chronic illness, the Universe/God has reminded me of the importance of my work here, & I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you, all, loves, & I hope you’ll take a listen & share. xoJenn

p.s., I discuss STRANGER THINGS in this podcast, as this poem was inspired by my investigation into the Upside Down of this show I adore, which I liken to duende & the underbelly & the hero’s journey — & I’m teaching this, my favorite workshop, online this coming January 2020 through The Poetry Barn. xoxo

Rosa’s Einstein (Camino del Sol Poetry Series)

rosa's einstein update

Available from University of Arizona Press (30% off with code AZFLR)

Also available at Amazon & other major booksellers.

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Rosa’s Einstein is a Latinx retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow-White and Rose-Red, reevaluating border, identity, and immigration narratives through the unlikely amalgamation of physics and fairy tale.

In this full-length poetry collection, the girls of Rosa’s Einstein embark on a quest to discover what is real and what is possible in the realms of imagination, spurred on by scientific curiosity and emotional resilience. Following a structural narrative arc inspired by the archetypal hero’s journey, sisters Rosa and Nieve descend into the desert borderlands of New Mexico to find resolution and healing through a bold and fearless examination of the past, meeting ghostly helpers and hinderers along the way. These metaphorical spirits take the shape of circus performers, scientists, and Lieserl, the lost daughter Albert Einstein gave away.

Poet Jennifer Givhan reimagines the life of Lieserl, weaving her search for her scientist father with Rosa and Nieve’s own search for theirs. Using details both from Einstein’s known life and from quantum physics, Givhan imagines Lieserl in a circus-like landscape of childhood trauma and survival, guided by Rosa and Nieve.

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“Raise a glass, sit in Alice’s just-vacated seat, and sip Givhan’s heady home brew, slipping yourself through yourself to sift through her poems’ generous gifts of light. In our only and ever more burdened earth, this book is a welcome and welcoming cry in the night, calling all time bandits: We live in a universe still expanding! Come in. Welcome home.”—Julie Sophia Paegle, author of Twelve Clocks

 

Rosa’s Einstein is lush, lurid with color, ‘flowerfisted,’ feminist, and bomb-blast bright. ‘[B]raiding history with myth / like ribbons through plaits,’ Jennifer Givhan turns her keen eyes to time—the science and magic of it—and invents something wholly (and holy) original. This book is seared into my brain.”—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

 

“Jennifer Givhan’s voice is desperately needed, at this moment more than ever, and in Rosa’s Einstein she ambitiously tackles physics, fairy tales, immigration, nuclear bombs, and time travel in one vivid and marvelous collection.”—Jeannine Hall Gailey, author of Field Guide to the End of the World

 

“Highly inventive, super obsessive, and beautifully written, this book of poems is a sleek animal you will find yourself panting behind, chasing Jennifer Givhan as she reclaims history, teaches Albert Einstein to dance cumbia, and makes a ghost sister, Nieve, from the fallout of the Trinity explosion.”—Carrie Fountain, author of Burn Lake

 

Girl With Death Mask now an audio book!

Girl with Death Mask audio book announcement

Dear friends,

My heartbeat has been set. My first ever audio book is alive. & I’m a grateful poeta.

You can sample & find more info here.

All the poetry love & light,

Jenn

Jenn Givhan’s “Tigers for Tamir Rice” Wins 2017 Greg Grummer Poetry Award, Chosen by Monica Youn

street tiger

the book thinks mothers are fools

of Jenn’s poem, Monica Youn says, “The hypnotic rhythms of the poem create a spell in which guilt and fear and love and sorrow cast moving shadows across the imagination. As a tribute to a murdered boy playing in a park, it weaves together rage and tenderness into an artifact that is as gorgeous as it is troubling.”

Read the entire poem at Phoebe Journal.

My chapbook LIFELINE now available from Glass Poetry Press!

Check it out at Glass Poetry Press

lifeline

Cover art: “The Heart and Hands of Coatlicue” by Gabrielle Pescador

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Landscape with Headless Mama in NBC News Latino!

Amid Uncertain Times, 11 New and Necessary Latino Books to Read

LANDSCAPE WITH HEADLESS MAMA COVER (400x608)Mil gracias al maestro, Rigoberto González for including my debut poetry book LANDSCAPE WITH HEADLESS MAMA on this list from NBC News Latino!!

González writes:

“This list of recently published books features fiction, poetry and nonfiction by writers whose personal journeys as women, men, artists or activists are informed by their immigrant and ethnic histories or by their political and spiritual beliefs — values that need to be upheld as xenophobia, division and even hate crimes intensify.”

&

“This moving collection of poems is Givhan’s literary debut, heralding the arrival
of an edgy and candid voice in Latina letters.”

Micro-Review of Headless Mama in Kenyon Review!

A searing & gorgeous review of Headless Mama in Kenyon Review!

“What splits from this collection is the debut of a poet whose images claw their way out from the dream world and nest in the readers’ eyes. Indeed, this is the fierce work of a poet who cannot and will not be ignored.” –Rajiv Mohabir

I’m so grateful.

You can read the whole review, which gets at the heart of Headless Mama, here.

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