An Introduction in Thee Parts
A. One of my favorite anthologies is Free Radicals (Subpress), edited by Jordan Davis & Sarah Manguso, in which the title is defined from physics as “unstable molecules … tending toward violent and unpredictable chemical reactions.” Four years ago, among the many great poets in this collection (Del Ray Cross, Katie Degentesh, Jen Knox, & others), I rediscovered Jeni Olin’s brilliantly frenetic poems and immediately began to pester her to send some to me for Coconut. I was thrilled when “Lunesta” arrived in my inbox!
B. Do you agree with me, Readers, that the whole “School” thing is past? But even so, isn’t it spectacular when individuals knead our poetic dough by evoking and expanding upon particular traditions? Jeni is one of a few poets (David Trinidad, of course, but also Gina Myers? Brendan Lorber? Jordan Davis?) who for me re-evoke the “New York” aesthetic — not in a redundant or overly beholden way, but by flying the tradition like a paper airplane into the present, making me want to take a train to the city again (I live in Atlanta now), breathe the air, feel the blistering white noise.
C. With 1,588 friends, Jeni Olin is the one of the most popular (& coolest & toughest!) poets on facebook. Her first book, Blue Collar Holiday, was published by Hanging Loose in 2005. Both her BA and her MFA are from Naropa.
J.Crew, sushi, & my shrink on speed dial
Fueled my anthem, "She's a rich girl,"
With a light sorrow,
Today. Tiny fists pummel the cherubs
That cruise this ashen noon. This is
Par for the course.
Plus everything that kills you softly
Melting into heavy, wavy traffic.
It is misting on the mountains
Greener than lobster eggs in my heart.
Naturally, it is snowing in the cafeteria
Where you live & I am just this
Tear-stuffed piñata for your love
& every session every thing you say
Has me sleeping in clouds of fire
Like the sun.
-- Jeni Olin