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The Red Coat

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Red Coat.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jane Ellen Glasser(Author)

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Jane Ellen Glasser’s fifth poetry collection begins and ends on the metaphor of the title’s image: “I will wear gratitude like a red coat,/ forbearing the shifting/ seasons of hope and doubt.” The book consists of six sections, beginning with an affirmation of a good life despite—or perhaps because of—the challenges and difficulties inescapable when one has lived a long time. Loss is the natural consequence of enduring, and Glasser does not shy away from exploring themes of loneliness, illness, and death, transmuting what is painful into art. Her words open a little door for the reader to enter and say, "Yes, I’ve been here." In one section, she addresses life’s other big theme—love, its intoxication and heartache. In a hallmark grouping of ekphrastic poems, the lines are inspired by the works of artists as diverse as Ingres, Botero, Seurat, and Manet. Another series explores the weird deaths of famous writers. We also find signature Glasser stuff: lyrical poems suffused with imagery of birds, trees, mountains, rivers—nature as mirror into a deeper understanding of human nature. In circular design, the collection closes on affirmation. This is Glasser at her best.

Jane Ellen Glasser’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, such as Hudson Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Georgia Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review and Poetry Northwest. Her poems have garnered numerous awards from the Irene Leache Society, Puddingstone, and the Poetry Society of Virginia, and she has been recognized for outstanding articles on teaching poetry that were featured in Virginia English Bulletin and English Journal. In the past she reviewed poetry books for the Virginian-Pilot, edited poetry for the Ghent Quarterly and Lady Jane’s Miscellany, and co-founded the nonprofit arts organization and journal New Virginia Review. A first collection of her poetry, Naming the Darkness, with an introduction by W. D. Snodgrass, was issued by Road Publishers in 1991. She won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry 2005, and her award-winning book, Light Persists, published by Tampa University Press in April 2006, received an honorable mention in the 2007 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Her chapbook, On the Corner of Yesterday, was released by Pudding House Publications in 2010. The Long Life won the Poetica Publishing Company Chapbook Contest 2011.

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Book details

  • PDF | 96 pages
  • Jane Ellen Glasser(Author)
  • FutureCycle Press (January 5, 2013)
  • English
  • 4
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By LOUISE GOLDBERG on March 31, 2013

    Sweet, touching, funny and heart-rending, the lyrics of Jane Ellen Glasser speaks of love and transition. Her style will make poetry lovers of even the most reluctant readers. I highly recommend this beautiful collection.

  • By Mary Jean Kledzik on January 9, 2013

    Review of Jane Ellen Glasser's The Red CoatI have been a fan of Jane Ellen Glasser's poetry and books for decades. The depth and quality of her narrative, lyrical poetry continues to nourish and expand my heart and mind. The Red Coat is a stunning reflection on the complexity of what goes on in her mind. The opening poem, "The Long Life" ends with exquisite stanzas:Be like the heron who stands on the glisteningshoreline tucked into her wings.Roam the countries in the two continentsinside your head. Speak to the natives,all those people you have been and are.All you have to do is listen.This begins the observations, fantasies, and musings on nature, art and biographies. Jane Ellen's is an ordinary, extraordinary life. Soon you will be calling to a friend, "Listen to this!" from a part of "The Imagined Man."I gave him features, a pastiche of partsthat had attracted me to others.I dressed him from Saks. To pleasemy children, I made him Jewish.I named him Henry.Her sensitivity to what nature teaches is subtle and true as seen in the ending of: "Japanese Cherry Blossom."Tommorowthe wind will begin its scattering workAnd it will rain pink petals for a week.As reverie follows bliss, green will follow pink.And green can live for months on memory.She does not pretend that life isn't difficult. But there is the choice of how to live it, as expressed in these few lines from "Vows for the New Year."I will wear gratitude like a red coat,forbearing the shiftingseasons of hope and doubt.It is tough to choose just a few bits from this excellent collection. My best recommendation:buy it!~Submitted by M. J. Kledzik

  • By Mary R. McCue on January 9, 2013

    This beautiful, poised book of poetry by Jane Ellen Glasser is a raft taking us upstream and down, but like the title of one poem, "A river would never insist," she doesn't jump the bank of the reader's life, preferring instead to trust the alchemy of "moon, tide and weather." A superior imagination, superior intelligence and superior skill with language are the bones of each poem in The Red Coat.The strength of Glasser's metaphors and images are often startling. We can feel the poet's compassion for even a homely lizard and her respect for all life in "Garbage." Saving it from drowning, the speaker tips a rain-pooled garbage can, and the lizard is released, "out, out out/a green bullet/onto the heaven/of wet grass." Here is a poet who believes in the inter-connectedness of all things. A fire burns, everything is loss. Yet "From nowhere a cardinal blazes/a red gash on a black canvas."Part philosopher, part artist and all poet she guides us like a muse through art galleries. Who wouldn't want to jump into the canvas of Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe "one shimmering afternoon" or swirl around the dance floor in Botero's The Dancers? The images leap off the page into our laps.Only a muscled soul could write of love and aching loneliness in a way that break the heart open. In "Dolor of the Abandoned House," a house abandoned by its long-time owner swoons: "Suspended in time, I wait/the way a dog waits, listening/for footsteps, the kiss of her key."Nothing is delievered from on high in these poems. In fact everything feels like it's been discovered, even the questions: "Tell me what it feels like/to lose something/one leaf at a time" ("Blind Girl Talking to a Tree").Here is a generous and powerful book of poems born out of struggle and determination to live as fully as possible. The collection closes with these vows: "I will ride the day to new places," I will honor the body's complaints/forgive mirrors/their honesty."//I will wear gratitude like a red coat/forbearing the shifting/seasons of hope and doubt."Like the speaker in William Meredith's "Crossing Over," Glasser has learned to "walk light," and we are the richer for it.Mary McCue, poet


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