That winter, acute cold worked
its legerdemain, and we left earth
without flying, sustained
by ice thick as a loaf, cloudless as vodka.
Your careful skating etched
a figure eight, a lorgnette
shaped like infinity, disclosing
each stone (hidden in the river’s sleeve
in other, furtive seasons) arrayed
below our blades, distinctly.
So the magician’s chosen one,
draped in gauze, floating
heedless of mirrors and wires,
sees freckles on a boy
in the front row, a topaz
earring, an astonished hazel eye.
Nothing so clear, before or since.
© 2015 Jeanne Julian
Jeanne Julian’s poetry has appeared in such print journals as Southern Anthology, Naugatuck River Review, and Earth’s Daughters, and on the web with Minerva Rising and Spank the Carp. She has won awards in competitions sponsored by The Comstock Review, The North Carolina Poetry Society, The Lanier Library, and the Asheville Writers’ Workshop. She studied writing at Allegheny College and received an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After a 27-year career in higher education marketing at Westfield State University in Massachusetts, she moved to North Carolina with her husband. They live on a creek near the Croatan National Forest. She was the featured photographer in moonShine review, summer 2015.
Beguiling us with images of nature, Blossom and Loss then plunges into stories of characters encountered, travel, love and loss-all at a crossroads, a place between worlds. Jeanne Julian's endings are gorgeous and dark, raising the hair on the back of the reader's neck. "The Current" expresses what this beautiful and well-crafted collection will do for the reader: "For you, a cushioned ride, the company I of those who care for you, velocity I and scenery shifting enough I to help you believe you're making progress."
—Lori Desrosiers, author of The Philosophers Daughter and Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak
We know, don't we, beauty rests on mortality, leans against it. It's Jeanne Julian's vision and art to not only remind us of that terrible, beautiful reliance, how loss is housed in the blossom, makes its home there, but to evoke it in our language, a tongue of the true and seen and felt. So we see as she does, "little hit squads of crocus fire," and we say "yes." We say "yes" often, reading her poems, more profoundly so because the vision embraces human losses (is there any other kind?) as well as blossoms, of children and lovers and family. She gives us "the tufted titmouse I with its round black eye I a peephole into infinity," and she does that with her own eye and voice.
—Dennis Finnell, author of Ruins Assembling
In Blossom and Loss, Jeanne Julian has both divined and composed a perfectly imagined landscape of beautiful contraries, presented in finely crafted, sonically sophisticated poems. "Place feeds vision," she says, and we view these visions with an astonished eye: a skeleton contemplating his absent navel, headlights casting angel wings on a bedroom wall, children becoming ghosts and butterflies. As she explores the dualities in the natural world and in the ever-present spirit world, she also lays bare the human heart with all its contradictions. "What can hold this burning and this cold together deep inside me ... ?" asks one character. These poems challenge and resonate; the reader will be haunted by them.
—David E. Poston, author of Slow of Study