WHEN I WAS A GIRL
This is a chapbook for anyone who has ever grown up, and wants to remember with precise, often uncomfortable certainty, exactly what it was like. The poems will unsettle readers, and yet somehow generate nostalgia for the everyday miseries of growing up. Berry is unafraid to be visceral, and she has a knack for being fantastically minimalist. One of the poems is over fifty words long, and yet only uses six different words.
The poems are often breathless, and filled with insatiable urgency. She balances the naivety of youth with the hindsight of adulthood when she writes iconic lines like “I really did know johnny in the summers,” and “stupid were: girls who believed adjectives.”
Berry turns childhood games on their head through her depiction of a young mind struggling to make sense of perceived societal expectations.
Read an interview here at Speaking of Marvels.
WE WILL BE SHELTER
We Will be Shelter, edited by poet and activist Andrea Gibson, is an anthology of contemporary poems that addresses issues of social justice. Unique to this anthology is its focus on creating positive social change through gorgeous, gusty poetry. Alongside and embedded in featured poems are concrete ways to address social and political issues raised. The goal of We Will be Shelter is to raise awareness, encourage critical self-reflection, and call readers to action.
"Post-Miscarriage: Day 55" by Jennifer Jackson Berry included, along with poems by Meg Day, Stevie Edwards, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Sam Sax, and many others.
NEW POETRY FROM THE MIDWEST
from the Introduction: "Here's what these poems are not: shy, demure, polite, nice-for-the-sake-of-being-nice, simplistic, predictable, wholesome. On one page you'll find Jennifer Jackson Berry, pulling you close to murmur, 'We stopped short of kissing, never / even practicing on fists in front of each other.'"
from Sabotage Reviews: "["A Story of Girls"] captures the fleeting nature of innocence, as the poem’s speaker states: ‘I would soon realize the boys knew/ even more than we did.’ Berry’s poem is also interested in the idea of knowledge and its acquirement: ‘I knew any adornment on my left meant/ I was available – bit of wisdom from my mother.’ The poem’s speaker is all too aware that knowledge is not necessarily positive; she states: ‘I hoped the boys would keep grabbing my hair/ like handlebars’, wishing to hold onto her innocence for a little longer."