Jeanine Stevens is the author of
Limberlost and Inheritor (Future Cycle Press). Her first
poetry collection, Sailing on Milkweed, was published by Cherry
Grove Collections. She is winner of the MacGuffin Poet Hunt, the William
Stafford Award, The Stockton Arts Commission Award, The Ekphrasis Prize,
and WOMR Cape Cod Community Radio National Poetry Award. Brief
Immensity, won the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Award.
Gertrude Sitting: Portraits of Women, won The Heartland Review 2020
Chapbook Prize. She participated in Literary Lectures—Celtic Symbolism,
sponsored by Poets and Writers. Work has appeared in North Dakota
Review, Evansville Review, The Kerf, Stoneboat, Rosebud, and
Chiron Review. Jeanine studied poetry at U.C. Davis, earned her M.A.
at CSU Sacramento, and has a doctorate in Education. She is also a
collage artist and has exhibited her work in various art galleries.
Jeanine is Professor Emerita at American River College. Raised in
Indiana, she now divides her time between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
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In No Lunch Among the Day Stars,
Jeanine Stevens is working at the height of her poetic gifts. Her
background in anthropology, her flair for history and love of travel,
and her sense of what is puzzling about the lived-in world, all her
experiences generate remarkable poems. Many lines reverberate in the
memory, transcendently or simply worded. We accompany the poet through
her wanderings or trace her presence through emanations. Certain poems
haunt the reader; "Coffin Ship" evokes the escape from Ireland’s Potato
Famine, starvation, plague and contagion shroud the verse: "And, hearts
remembering the great hunger…still watch rickety ships…leave the Poet of
Derry…sealed in Atlantic’s whitest foam." These virtuoso poems, somber
and upbeat, transmit a different contagion, the energy in composing.
Stevens’ haul of insights and scents, flavors and travels, is a gift to
author of Twelve-Tone Row: Music in Words.
In No Lunch Among the Day Stars, we
see the synergy of the poet’s capacious intellect – engaged with art,
science, history, literature, the climate crisis, and the cosmos – with
her close observation of the natural world, culture, and human nature.
The poems pay homage to masters of poetry and art (Ashbery, Frost,
Picasso, Warhol, Van Gogh), to the hand irons on a grandmother’s
woodstove, to the fragile existence of an 18th century Leni-Lenape
woman, and, always, to endangered nature. Stevens’ eloquently expressed
melancholy and yearning are always infused with reminders of renewal and
resilience, for example, the survival of the tough-rooted violet in the
face of wildfire’s destruction. These poems articulate, lovingly and
precisely, the beauty that is present even as we witness endings: "the
tint of a lover’s thigh, deep inside, where flesh begins to emit the
fragrance of wild mushrooms," or, in this address to the Monterey
Cypress, "In old age, your body... / bends inland, your trunk swivels— /
magnificent bonsai... / In the scent of drying kelp, / time to watch new
lambs..." Stevens’ new collection nourishes and satisfies.