Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Poets and Poems: Isabel Chenot and "The Joseph Tree"

Isabel Chenot includes a simple yet arresting introduction to her new poetry collection, The Joseph Tree. She writes that the poems are dedicated to “my friend and the little son she buried.” You might expect that the poems to follow would explore the profound grief of losing a child. But they don’t. Instead, she writes of landscapes and mountains, journeys away and those to return home, rain on mown grass, sunsets, and maps. 

Only one poem focuses on the loss of the child mentioned in the introduction, “To a Mother in Burying Her Infant Son.” And it’s inserted between two other poems, “On Seeing WWI Photographs of Flanders Fields” and “Waiting for Spring.” The three poems are collectively entitled “May Triptych.” Together, the three poems speak to a collective loss (How many mothers lost children to the fields of Flanders?), an individual loss no less painful, and the hope and recovery to come. “Because of Winter,” Chenot writes, “there is Spring.”


To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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