This new collection of poems by Diane Jarvenpa, with line-by-line luxuriance of language and attention to the natural world, is the perfect way to begin a new year of poetry at Red Dragonfly Press.
swift, bright, drift is about the legacy of our wilderness, how we walk within it and around it and are still mystified by it. It is about being in the woods, observing, listening and sitting inside its luminous silence. There’s a legacy here of a father to his daughter, how he taught her the sacred aspects of the forest and its waters and how she wishes to pass this down to her daughter. There’s a phenology here as well, that is the humble desire to record the changes of the earth, how we can feel illiterate in the face of nature and yet grateful for its adaptability, delicacy, rebirth, and the chance to learn. Here are the opening stanzas of Jarvenpa’s ‘Illuminated Manuscript’:
Old-growth forest totems preach a thousand birds
along the unscrolled slender river
as you follow the skittish comma-heads
of quail, chirographic-antlered deer leaving dust trails,
tiny green and sapphire damselflies,
proverbs among the watercress.
It is one more sand hill penned with flowers,
inkstone thunder clouds over rye fields,
ravens black-stroking their book of haiku
above the black spruce.
swift, bright, drift ($11; 46 pages; ISBN 978-1-937693-83-1) is published as a perfect-bound chapbook, available at Amazon or by special order through your local independent bookstore.
Diane Jarvenpa is the author of Divining the Landscape (New Rivers Press), Ancient Wonders, the Modern World (Red Dragonfly Press) and The Tender Wild Things (New Rivers Press) which received the Midwest Independent Publishers Association book award in poetry. She has received artist initiative and fellowship grants in writing from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is a singer-songwriter who records under the name Diane Jarvi (http://dianejarvi.com/).