Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin
2007 Poetry Chapbook Contest

Chapbook Excerpt

"Attentiveness deepens what it regards. "
-Jane Hirshfield, in Nine Gates

Until you make one thousand

of a form, the potter warned,
you will not truly understand it.

He strode from student
to student smashing down
imperfect cylinders they'd pleaded
upward out of mud.

Think of this in yoga class, aching up
into the seven-hundredth downward­
facing dog, still comprehending only clumsiness.

Think of this in the marriage bed
with your new husband. Pray you both live
long enough to make the one thousandth reprise.

Think of the ash tree, bringing forth
new thousands of leaves in perfection
each spring: tossing them lightly
away in fall.

Think of writing one thousand
sonnets, one thousand sestinas, one
thousand ghazals.

Think of relinquishing
hope of understanding

Author Biography

A business writer and editor from Cullowhee, N.C., Cabanis-Brewin writes for a variety of publications on business topics, and has been co-editor or co-author of several award-winning business books. Her poetry has been published in The Nomad, the Atlanta Review, and Appalachian Heritage, as well as on the North Carolina Arts Council’s Web site. Cabanis-Brewin’s work has also appeared in the anthologies Tree Magic (SunShine Press, 2004), The Gift of Experience (Atlanta Review, 2005), Immigration, Emigration, Diversity (Chapel Hill Press, 2005), and in the forthcoming anthology The Moveable Nest (Helicon Nine Press, 2007), edited by Marilyn Kallet and North Carolina Poet Laureate Kathyrn Stripling Byer. She was a finalist in the Atlanta Review's poetry competition in 2000 and 2005, and in the 2000 Greensboro Awards.

Patriate is Cabanis-Brewin’s love letter to her home ground: a presently unspoiled mountain cove in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The outside world—in the form of rapacious developers, world politics, and other aspects of the larger community—is present in the poems but always less important than the relationship she feels to the ecosystem of Blackbird Branch.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a professional writing concentration, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Western Carolina University. She has studied poetry in seminars and master classes with a number of poets, notably Kathyrn Stripling Byer, Cathy Smith Bowers, B.H. Fairchild, Jane Hirshfield, and R.T. Smith.

Critical Response

“At once wild and disciplined, [Cabanis-Brewin] is a trustworthy guide ‘around the weedrank barnyard,’ ‘into the tunnel of rhododendron’ and beyond ‘the dark iris of the mind.’ You come too.”

—R.T. Smith, editor of Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review


©2009 Longleaf Press at Methodist University | Fayetteville, NC