Featured Poet: Judy Jordan

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Full disclosure: maybe nine years ago, I had the pleasure of being scared shitless in Judy Jordan’s workshop when, unblinking, she told us—her students—that we had no business turning in a poem for workshop unless we’d spent twenty to forty hours on it.  I remember some of us exchanging cocky smiles as we attempted to conceal our panic.  I’m sure we were all thinking more or less the same thing: What in the hell are we supposed to do in a poem that could take forty hours?

Well, Judy’s own poems illustrate in every line a lesson that I needed maybe half a decade to internalize.  Yes, every once in a while, a good poem appears on the page with the speed and practiced ease of a caricature artist scribbling in a park.  Usually, though, it takes more.  A lot more.  The kind of flinty, lyrical acrobatics and emotive spell-casting we see in Judy’s poems obviously takes time; more than that, though, it takes primal love and dedication that remind me of Michelangelo craning his neck at that chapel ceiling, mounting scaffolds he built himself, brushes clamped between his teeth.

A glance at Judy’s bio reveals that her background is as colorful and unique as her poetic style.  Her poems are often pastoral but they are also boldly, nakedly personal and they are never, ever escapist; the social commentary here may not be as obvious as the lyrical beauty, but it’s there.

One last thing, then I’ll direct you to Judy’s poetry (which is the real reason you came here).

Being the history geek that I am, I went to a Colonial rendezvous a while back… ok, I went to two of them… and I spent a long time watching blacksmiths and flintknappers demonstrate their art to spectators who, despite having little or no prior knowledge about what they were witnessing, all walked away a little awed, shaking their heads.  Like that, Judy’s poems stun the senses: furiously wrought, meticulously primal, and even at their darkest moments, joyful for the honor they do the English language.

SELECTED WORKS:

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 Broccoli Seedlings, Month of Wolf and Snow Moon

POETRY  Broccoli Seedlings, Month of Wolf and Snow Moon Judy Jordan

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Waking in Winter

POETRY Waking in Winter Judy Jordan

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Io Hears the Breath of All Things

POETRY Io Hears the Breath of All Things Judy Jordan

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Working In Heat

POETRY Working In Heat Judy Jordan

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Io That Second Winter

POETRY Io That Second Winter Judy Jordan

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Elegy

POETRY Elegy Judy Jordan




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Atticus Review is a weekly online journal that publishes stories, poems, flash prose, creative nonfiction, mixed media, book reviews, and other genre-busting words of wisdom and interactive literary whimsy.

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