Friday, April 10, 2015
Mendeleev's Mandala. Jessica Goodfellow. Mayapple Press, 2015.
Jessica Goodfellow's books are Mendeleev's Mandala (Mayapple Press, 2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar Press, 2014). Her chapbook, A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland, won the 2006 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. Jessica received the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal, and her work is being made into a short film by Motionpoems (May 2015). She has graduate degrees from Caltech and the University of New England. She lives and works in Japan.
Mendeleev’s Mandala begins in pilgrimage and ends in pilgrimage, but nowhere in-between does it find a home. Invoking muses as diverse as Wittgenstein, Newton, the Wright Brothers, and an ancient Japanese monk, Goodfellow uses and misuses mathematics, cosmology, biology, and etymology to push the boundaries of poetic form in a manner that mimics how time and tragedy push the human form to its limits. Welcome to the pilgrimage.
Jessica Goodfellow has a joyous intelligence and electric tongue. Reading this book a first time, my only regret was that I couldn’t read it a second first time. But then I read it a first second time and a first third. You see what I’m doing? I’m reading this book over and over, without ever completely taking it in. I think you will too. And like me, want only one thing from Jessica Goodfellow—more. (Bob Hicok)
A Metronome is the Opposite of Wind
Wind launches the laundry, shakes hands
with a scarecrow, shuffles rust-edged petals
of dogwood, hungry for anything hung,
dangled, crucified. Who do you—or maybe
Hoodoo you, she calls, passing. The wind is
a woman, we say, when a thing disappears;
a man, when a thing is demolished.
I’ve come to the field today to be
away from metronome, clock, and door—
instruments of opening and closing, of doing,
undoing, redoing. The wind is no one’s
instrument; it opens and opens, which is why
it cannot stay. Once you made me a gift
of a metronome, saying, Without symmetry,
there’d be too much to desire. What your rule forgets
is the human heart’s four unequal chambers,
left of center. But its valves close and open,
its throbbing is even, metronome in give-and-take
with wind. Or vice versa. No one’s wholly satisfied,
or wholly dispossessed, in this elliptical ruin of breath.
More Poems by Jessica Goodfellow:
Thrush Poetry Journal
Click Here to Purchase Mendeleev's Mandala