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Samsara, Poems by Jennifer Markell
Samsara, from the Sanskrit, refers to the ever-turning wheel of life. Themes of circularity and renewal pervade these poems: an ailing neighbor watches kite surfers "turn their bodies into wind;" love is reborn at the circus; bicycle wheels spin circles into fields. Throughout, Markell seeks out currents that connect us to the natural world and to each other in the circular universe. Whether describing a spotted salamander discovered under a fallen log or speculating on "nomadic atoms" that become the dusty shtetl of ancestors, Samsara vividly conveys a sense of wonder that entices the reader to step onto the wheel and savor what they find.
"With profound tenderness for the ordinary, intimate details of our lives, Jennifer Markell's poems pulse with the sense of samsara-the journey of birth, life, death, rebirth that repeats itself-and of the heartbreak that inevitably implies. In the shadow of wars that have and will shadow our lives, her work conveys the poet's affection for the daily world, and her empathy for the lives of others, and for the suffering of the families we must leave: 'In my grandmother's eyes/the pain of ancestors,/the stone and straw of poverty.' Markell knows the costs of love, and the means of survival: 'I don't remember the words/that exiled me from the table….'-words, the saving instruments she's used to build this moving, clear-eyed collection."-Gail Mazur
"Jennifer Markell's Samsara radiates with understatement, a quality that imbues the poems with a patina of universal concern and distances them from the narrow confines of confessional poetry. What I find striking about Markell's work is her allowance of self-awareness to extend into a panorama of concern for others. These poems invite us to celebrate the self-restraint that opens into the beauty of communal song."-Richard Tayson
"The poems of Samsara represent the beautiful exploitation of our objective reality, reintroducing us to and reinvigorating a world that has been here all along but that most of us fail to recognize or to see most fully. These observations are mediated by a deep belief that we are all the same on this planet, and all equally deserving of grace. This is a very fine debut, deserving of our attention." -Bruce Weigl
Jennifer Markell's poems have been published in journals nationally and internationally, including The Aurorean (Featured Poet), Consequence, The Hawaii Pacific Review, Rhino, and Poetry from Sojourner, A Feminist Anthology. She is the author of an award-winning chapbook, Leaving the Green Elm Market. Her poetry has been displayed at Boston City Hall, and she was selected to read her work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Jennifer lives with her husband in Jamaica Plain, MA and works as a psychotherapist with a special interest in therapeutic uses of writing.
ISBN: 978-1625490759, 80 pages, $18.00