“Tasseography of Pregnancy After Miscarriage” in Drunken Boat

reading tea leaves“I keep trying to read the tea leaves greening
the lukewarm belly of the mug—”

Read and listen to the rest of the poem at Drunken Boat.

 

Love,

Jenn

Sewing Feathers and After the Miscarriage II in Waxwing

woman sprouting flowers

Mark Harless

The mother spreads her arms and waits — hoping

at the top of a hill — for a mend

in the empty break of sky.

–from “Sewing Feathers” (read the full poem in Waxwing).

We lived our first existence as if on an island —

the waving flag of a companionship

always sinking.

–from “After the Miscarriage II” (read the full poem in Waxwing).

Love,

Jenn

Bird Woman and Bloom

sacagaweaSacagawea emerges from the hedgehog cacti
in the lot behind our crumpling house
heavy with cradleboard & mistaken

for a token of peace…

from “Bird Woman

 

 

The boys next door are ignoring my son. burning tree
It’s playground politics, the fragile and shifting
power dynamics of these early friendships…

from “Bloom

Read both poems at The Boiler.

Madhouse of Spirits

Coil by Remedios Varo

Coil by Remedios Varo

I unwrap a bar of amaranth soap

and wash my own mouth

the way Mama used to do when I’d been profane…   

–Jenn Givhan

(Read full poem at The Collagist)

Two Poems at Superstition Review

“TimeBrawleyTheater Capsule” and “Junkyard Halflight” up at Superstition Review.

“Small things come back in pieces.
That time of day I wasn’t afraid to close

my eyes. The white flies weren’t yet lured
by streetlamps; the air still held its damp menudo.
On one side of the house, the cemetery

where I buried a stillborn and a marriage
swollen with ditchwater; on the other side,
a landfill.” –Jenn Givhan

Two poems at Tinderbox Poetry

… my daughter and the girls in ballet-

costume pretend to fly in loops
around the red recital floor, believing

their outstretched arms make wings,
and with faces ready for takeoff,

they uplift in possibility.

–from “Searching the Skyline

How did you end in a river, his boxers for trunks,river walk
your skin for a bathing suit, the pitch
of your voices and the waves echoing a boned-
hollow of the absent music, laced
with regret.

–from “River Pitch

Tinderbox Poetry Journal

Reabsorption Elegy

Sculpture by Kenneth Paul Lesko

Sculpture by Kenneth Paul Lesko

 

Daughter, I won’t make milk for you anymore.
      The body retreats. It reclaims
miracles.

Published in Glint Literary Journal.

“Miracle of the River Pig” up at *Goblin Fruit*

My poem “Miracle of the River Pig”new river is live today at Goblin Fruit, and you can listen to me read it there as well!

It’s a grotesque and somewhat experimental poem for me recounting my experience in the Southern California desert near the New River. I began drafting the poem in Brenda Hammack‘s fairytale workshop with The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, while I was also reading Frank Bidart’s “The War of Vaslav Nijinsky.”

I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading! new river 2


" — Selves like iridescent, 
shining, speckled
shit in the Río Nuevo
frothy foaming stinking desert river
desert in the new world — 
how old were you? fifteen & blessed 
as Santa María,
I’m that lucky pig in the river — 
cut my trotters,
strike my blue-butt,
handle me,
sell me at auction,
devour me."

--Jenn Givhan

Read the full poem here.

 

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

Lovesong of the Barren Woman, Poems & An Interview with Jennifer Givhan

Image

Frida Kahlo’s The Broken Column

2. Looking Glass

                   The image in the mirror appears whole
                             though I swear I am a fragment.

Columnar self,
I am my own grotesque other body.

I fell asleep inside my pod and woke to red,
where oceans are dry as salt flats, where red means lost
and lost means dead.

(Read the whole poem here, published at The Fertile Source).

I am so honored to have poems & an interview published by The Fertile Source:

“In the Looking Glass section, with its body-as-empty-house imagery, I thought in terms of Mexican art—surrealist paintings, specifically by female painters Remedios Varo, Frida Kahlo, and Leonora Carrington, play a major role in my writing. They infuse my imagery with color, with discovering beauty and hope in the grotesque, in the strange. The columnar self is also an allusion to Frida Kahlo’s painting “The Broken Column”—and the grotesque is in part referencing the grotesque aspects of this type of art. I also draw on Julia Kristeva’s formulations of the abject in this section. Kristeva writes, “Abjection is above all ambiguity… while releasing a hold, it does not cut off the subject from what threatens it” (Powers of Horror). What threatens the infertile woman (and the woman whose babies die inside her) is her own body. Refiguring the classic construction of the mind/body split was a major concern in this section. In the poem, I was working out my own formulation for such questions as, how does a woman love a body that hurts her? That sabotages her? How does a mother find/express/nurture the babies that exist in her mind and heart but that will not grow inside her body?”

(Please read the whole interview here).

All my best to you,

Jenn

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