Jennifer Jackson Berry
The Feeder by Jennifer Jackson Berry is a book of the body—an unblinking eye, a voice kicking open door after door on hushed topics of infertility, pregnancy loss, and how real bodies, in all their failings and flailings, seek and find pleasure. The poems are as secrets shared between good friends, so raw and dangerous, we can’t look away.
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Bloodfish was selected by co-editors Steve Bellin-Oka and Ron Mohring as Number 19 in the Keystone Chapbook Series at Seven Kitchens Press, celebrating the work of Pennsylvania-connected poets.
There are open mouths of fish about to be hooked. There are dreams of abandoned children and too many children falling. There are the brutal losses of the body named in this slender, yet powerful collection.
Purchase a copy and read a sample poem here.
We ate Jell-O poke cake in bed
one night after. We brought it home
from a church basement dinner,
plastic wrap over Cool Whip icing,
whorls of orange inside.
Definitions of regular: 1: belonging
to a religious order.
He has made me say all those things
I never thought I’d say: oh god, oh oh
I remember walking high school halls
when I was a freshman
& upper-class boys would push
each other into me.
More than twenty years & I’m still trying
to figure out the theory of the push.
Embarrass him? Embarrass me?
It happened when I was alone.
Those boys didn’t think about me.
About how I had to steel myself
for an impact, about how I could have been
She sits in front of a light
that is supposed to help her depression,
a few minutes every day, she sits in front of the light and
writes in the happiness journal
I gave her for Christmas.
Once she said the clock wasn’t moving and
the secondhand wasn’t moving and
nothing was moving forward and
I drove to her in the middle of the night.
BOOTH: A Journal
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of To Know Crush (YesYes Books, 2020) and The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her most recent chapbook Bloodfish was published in early 2019 by Seven Kitchens Press as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series.
Her poetry has most recently appeared in BOAAT, The Boiler, Connotation Press, Foundry, Glass, Grist, and Poet Lore, among others.
She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.