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Archive for May, 2015

“Pomona’s Garden”

“Echo Finds her Body”

by Jane Beal

PoppyRoadReview

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Dead Come to Life

DeadCometoLife

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9m BEAL-NewCrops-2015

“Other pilgrims pace restlessly through this book: Jane Beal finds poetry when she visits landmarks in Rome, but her most striking entry in New Crops from Old Fields consists solely of questions Muslims and Jews asked her in the Holy Land. The poem is a remarkable distillation of the sort of grace and charity a pilgrimage should foster: a diminution of the self, and the generosity of letting others speak. Throughout her poetry, Beal makes the medieval personal—a fox on the roadside reminds her of the Reynard of fable, and she writes in the voices of Caedmon and Dante—and her destination is the answer to an intimate question: ‘What shape does the shadow of my life form / when I take my stand in the light of God?'”

~ Jeff Sypeck, “We’ll find the speck of truth in each riddle …” (review of New Crops)

“Jane Beal captures the essence of the simultaneous distinction between, and union of, being a medievalist and a poet: “As a medievalist, I must translate older forms of English, French, and Latin . . . into modern English. As a lyric poet, I must translate emotion and the memory of experience from my heart to my reader. In both cases, translation is a key that opens new doors” (5). As both medieval scholars and poets, we are compelled to ‘carry across’ past times, memory, place, emotion, and experience to others. Beal’s poetry crosses over from the medieval languages and literary allusions that propel each piece to the more tangible and familiar human emotions that permeate her poetry and her medieval sources. Beal’s travels in the holy land are encapsulated in a poem made up entirely of questions—“Where are you from?” “Are you married?” “Have you been to Bethlehem?” “When will you return to Israel?”—not only relating her memories of moments of experience but also the reality of the collision of the ancient, the medieval, and the modern worlds, of the ordinary and the extraordinary that we encounter as we search for our truths. In one poem, her Speaker encounters a “far-walking pilgrim,” a “shadow-walker.” This elicits a reflection and a question: “What shape does the shadow of my life form / when I take my stand in the light of God?” A devout faith seems to resonate from and to guide her poetry as it did the poets of the medieval world whose work informs Beal’s own.”

~ Julie A. Chappell, Review in Medievally Speaking

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“Maker”

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Margaret Keane

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