Category Archives: Poetry

Labyrinthine by Libby Jones

Labyrinthine

My life – unlike Theseus’s – does not depend
            on where I turn. His labyrinth

a set of tricks, unpredictable chaos,
            he had to guess the pattern, discern false paths,

saved by cleverness – a thread –
            a woman’s trick, that thread.

In my labyrinths –
            mown path in summer New York grass,

painted canvas in a holy wood,
            stones at Grace Episcopal atop a San Francisco hill –

I do not guess: I do not know the way
            but the way knows me,

I twirl through turns
            as in a dance that teaches me its steps,

I pause at center, then the path swings out,
            keeping me in play.

A single iteration, tessellated,
            a complex path, with mental bifurcation points –

the set direction of the foot explodes
            mind’s limits. Swaying,

I string my spirit thread,
            await amazement.

—Libby Jones

Labyrinthine is the first poem in the book: Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue by Libby Falk Jones.

You can order online at www.finishinglinepress.com (click on “New Releases and Forthcoming Titles”).

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Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue

Finishing Line Press proudly announces the publication of:
Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue
by Libby Falk Jones

Libby Falk Jones teaches creative, critical, and professional writing at Berea College, where she is a Professor of English. Her poems have been published in regional and national journals and anthologies, including Connecticut Review, 13th Moon, New Millennium Writings, PMS
poemmemoirstory, Blue Fifth Review, New Growth: Recent Kentucky Writings, Low Explosions: Writings on the Body, and The Alhambra Poetry Calendar 2008, 2009, and 2010. She has given readings of her poetry at the Southern Women Writers Conference, Twentieth-Century Literature Conference, Kentucky Women’s Book Festival, and Berea Arts Council, as well as at several colleges and universities. She and her husband, Roger, also a writer, live in Berea, Kentucky. Libby Jones is a member of AEPL.

Libby stated, “I’m excited to announce that my poetry chapbook, Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue, to be published in March by Finishing Line Press, is now in the pre-publication stage. If any of you should be planning to buy a copy, I would appreciate your doing so by January 22, as the number of prepublication copies sold determines the press run. You can order online at www.finishinglinepress.com (click on “New Releases and Forthcoming Titles”). Thanks for your support.”

Paper, $12; shipping only $1 per copy. Publication date: March 26, 2010. Limited edition collection.

Following are some comments by other poets and writers regarding Libby Jones’ work.

“Libby Falk Jones’s poetry begins where Mary Oliver’s leaves off: these lyrics not only weave the speaker into the natural landscape, but they also express a maternal tenderness and fierce connectedness with the human family, in lines that are utterly compelling. The mother-son poems are unique in contemporary literature, exploring the dynamics of nurturing and letting go, tracing the nuances of raising sons who become admirable men.”

–Marilyn Kallet

“Vibrant, lyrical, these poems illuminate the world of everyday experiences, linking them to a metaphysics of transcendence wherein divine spirit enters and speaks. They contain revelations. Read them and you hear, see, and feel sacred presence evoked in nature, in human bonds, in the very air we breathe.”

–bell hooks

“Always, Jones is alert and listens for the individual cry midst the din, knowing that before we can celebrate what unifies us as human beings, we have to become personally centered by being still: ‘In the quiet pool the frog has no need to jump.’ In a memorable series celebrating the love of a mother for her sons, Libby Falk Jones teaches us that what finally unites us is human love which must find a voice. Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue lodges first in the mind but settles finally, quietly and surely, in the heart.”

–Vivian Shipley

Finals

Here at the end of the term,
I’m standing in my office
Before my bookshelves,
And there in disarray
Are the soldiers of learning.
Fallen among fellow warriors
And foreign company,
Scarred and bent,
They await transport
Back to the comfort
Of sliding home
Between their dusty
Companions at last.

-Laurence Musgrove

Teaching Composition by Joona Trapp

Seven forty five in the blessed A. of M.
They perch in rows with drooping feathers
barely there, fluffed against the cold,
in the cages of their own physicality,
in the cage of these gray walls.

I understand but I have to begin.
Politely, they try to listen to my warble,
little heads cocked, eyelids half closed.
A wrong note elicits twittering,
a sort of melody causes answering song.

Gradually, like dim rays of the peeking sun,
the bodies straighten slightly,
feathers smooth and scratching begins.
One sings and another, then another,
they all share their songs.

Nine fifteen before we know it.
They fly from the room, past my perch,
fluttering, chirping, songs in their throats.
They will return in a few days
to sit once again on this vibrating wire.

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