Praise for Stilt Walking at Midnight:
The final poem in J. Esmé Jelenedras Stilt Walking at Midnight, ends
with the lines: You must learn to say Dance. You must learn to say Sing.
You must learn to throw Joy into the air like a stick. Throughout the book,
she constructs the intricate path that has led her, and the reader, to this
psalm-like exaltation. In the best of these poems, J. Esmé Jelenedra
creates a sometimes luminous, sometimes haunting beauty that is rare,
original, and accomplished.
Joseph Stroud, author of Below Cold Mountain
Carefully crafted and moving, Stilt Walking at Midnight expresses a full
range of emotionfrom deep sorrow and abandonment to lightness
and innocence. I am particularly struck by the poems for this authors
children: Runaway, Lamentation for My Son and the title poem with its
account of two daughters like white colts freshly unfolded and learning
to stand . . . or herons . . . as, in their nightclothes, they come to practice
the secret rituals of rising and, in darkness bend their faces earthward.
There is something gentle, mysterious and brave about Ms. Jelenedras
poems that is certain to attract a wide range of readers.
Robert Sward, author of Three Dogs and a Parrot
In language both tentative and sure, Jonell Jelenedras poems are a
swath of light through a forest of shadows: We hold these tiny flames
aloft . . . and pray that they not be snuffed out. Like undertow, her words
pull you down into dark, teeming water then release you into life-saving
air as you are gasping for breath: Belly down and grow gills. Learn
from the fishes. These are poems of courage, of transition, when what
used to be your life is gone and your life-to-be is nowhere in sight.
Every night I stand at the border and call your name into that country.
Amber Coverdale Sumrall, author of Litany of Wings
Jonell Esmé Jelenedra has been a field hand, soda jerk, book reviewer, waitress,
ditch digger, school teacher, sales clerk, and used clothing pricer. Currently she is a
mother of four, occasional poet, and library employee. She holds a degree in Aesthetic
Studies from UC Santa Cruz, which qualifies her to make sweeping judgments about the
nature of beauty in the world. She has been published in Ally, Quarry West,
Writing for our Lives, Porter Gulch Review, and several anthologies. She is a winner
of the Mary Lonnberg Smith Poetry Award and the Quarry West Poetry Award First Prize. She lives
in Santa Cruz, California.
Stilt Walking at Midnight by J. Esmé Jelenedra. Release June 15, 2004.
104 pages, paperback, $12, ISBN 0-9716373-7-7
by J. Esmé Jel'enedra