Edison Jennings lives in Abingdon, Va., and teaches at Virginia Intermont College.
He grew up in a family of readers. He says, "Literature was a part of everyday life, and everyone had strong and often contrary opinions. My sister and I were encouraged to read. TV was considered a waste of time, except for my father's holy ritual of watching the Huntley-Brinkley report, without any interruptions, thank you. I decided early on I wanted to write, and write poetry in particular, but I just tinkered. In 1992 that changed. My marriage was breaking up. I decided to get out of the Navy, go to graduate school and ultimately teach, and try to develop a competency in poetry, a damnably difficult and under-appreciated art. I have not gotten rich or famous, but I have never regretted my decision."
The Sympathy of Dust
by Edison Jennings
Her Hoover Vortex Master hums,
the house a diary of dross,
Pop-Tart crumbs, playground grit,
wicked grains of glass
the broom did not pick up
when her boyfriend broke
a long-neck Miller beer,
fragments of a narrative
she tracks from room to room,
cobwebs, dead bees, scented talc,
pollen shed by Easter lilies
one week past their prime,
and later when she cannot sleep,
the nightscape fills with cosmic dust
she heard Carl Sagan talk about
on the old Tonight Show,
comet ash and star-chaff
settling on her sleeping son
and on the now remembered face
of the whiskey-crippled father
she tried not to love,
how it falls, the dust of genesis,
until she falls asleep at last.
Reprinted with permission from Southern Poetry Review, 2003
So quick bright things come to confusion.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
by Edison Jennings
Straight-edged through the thunderheads, light beams sparked
a silo's dome, blinding me just long enough to miss
a hidden hairpin left that slung me sideways through the weeds
no matter how I lurched the car or spun and flung the mud
hubcap deep in patchwork fields tucked like crazy quilts
around a clapboard house where a small boy danced
inside a fenced-in yard, radio music faint, rock and roll I guessed,
and until the tow-truck came, I watched coincidence
of light and dance and spring, the endless bright confusion.