Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Laura Jensen's After I Have Voted

After I Have Voted, Laura Jensen, The Gemini Press, Seattle, 1972. Not only is this chapbook Laura Jensen’s first poetry collection, it was also Gemini Press/Madrona Magazine’s first venture into book publishing—quite an auspicious beginning, considering that Laura’s work quickly became nationally recognized—among other things— for its “domestic, stark imagery with complex metaphorical gesture, bridging interior and exterior spheres as [her poetry] traces the shifting, halting, at times unfamiliar landscapes of memory and home.” (Poetry Foundation) Gemini Press later changed its name to Querencia Books and subsequently published titles by Beth Bentley, Robyn Tarbet, Eve Triem, Frank Samperi, J. K. Osborne, John Levy, and yours truly. 

 The title poem: 


I move the curtain back, 
and something has gone wrong. 
I am in a smoky place, 

an Algerian café. 
They turn the spotlight toward me; 
the band begins to play. 

The audience stares back at me. 
They polish off their glasses. 
They ask the waiter, “Who is she?” 

He holds his pen 
against his heart. 
He speaks behind his hand. 

There are tea bags swinging 
from their mouths. 
Their teeth are made of brass. 

The jello sighs into the candlelight. 
My eyes turn into stars. 
Ah—the colored spangles on my clothes, 

the violet flashlights and guitars! 

Also, check out this link to a piece on Laura that appeared on the Poetry Foundation’s site. And one last word—if you happen to come across this thin little gem (24 pp, 18 poems) forgotten on a shelf in some dusty corner of a used bookstore and the price is right, buy it. 

BTW, here’s AbeBooks’ listing for the book--roughly $14 a poem; given the current economic crunch in Hellas, it's too bad I have only one copy left!


  1. some terrific rhythms she's got !

    1972 was an huge year
    actually say 1969 - 1975

    a plethora of AUTHENTIC voices
    sorely missed by the "pups" of
    these days.

    was just the other day reading my/that Madrona CORMAN issue
    with the insert

    1972 ? ! JEEZE... like it was a right-now spangles attached and swinging.

    neat will look for more Laura Jensen. she yet writing ?

  2. I hadn't heard of Jensen before. I like this poem very much.

  3. Ed and Wooden Boy—
    Thanks for the feedback on this fine poet; as the Poetry Foundation article states, Laura isreally low-profile but she’s still writing and the link should be a good starting place to search for her poems, or you can do what the rest of the world does—Google!

  4. if I "do what the rest of the world does"
    I'd loose my way ....

    and THEN
    without a map
    and an instant knowing via
    what EVERYBODY else knows and does

    where wood I be ?

    Just another hollo bump-on-a-log ?


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