A rare and powerful collection with inventive forms
Poetry. Family & Relationships. Women's Studies.
”This is a rare creation of song and scar, of vulnerability and emotional complexity. In Jeri Theriault’s new collection Self-Portrait as Homestead, the natural and human worlds mingle in accessible yet almost mythic ways. Brimming with meditations on family, youth, and personal identity, these vibrant poems remain grounded in a universal familiarity that opens us up to something greater. If one of the aims of poetry is to condense our vast, contradictory, and beautifully human world into the briefest of songs, Self-Portrait as Homestead stands as a testament to its possibility.” —John Sibley Williams, author of As One Fire Consumes Another
”Jeri Theriault’s Self-Portrait as Homestead possesses a delicately balanced tone as she examines three generations of her family in the context of twentieth-century history, while managing to give the reader room to imagine their own origins. Theriault is as skilled at following the music of language as its etymological hallways. She deftly allows her poems to settle into what Keats called “negative capability,” often blurring characters or experiences as she explores her roots. By allowing these poems to own their contradictions, she achieves a deeper and more sustaining acceptance, which reads as a kind of wisdom—what it means to be human.” —Sally Bliumis-Dunn, author of Echolocation
”These deft, spare poems reclaim the flare of self-ness that has been tamped in women over many generations, and their fresh word-play and inventive forms make their renditions of grandmother, mother, and self-as-girl-morphingto-elder all the more arresting. Every gesture flies off the page in its caress of language, also evoking the iconic loneliness of women in the speaker’s past and in history itself. The result? A redemptive empathy for self and ancestor, the well earned gift of a generation of women who have paid the price of breaking free and now step forth to bear honest witness and break old patterns. Such stories cannot be told often enough. These poems do so bravely and in searingly honed phrases and images.” —Leslie Ullman, author of The You That All Along Has Housed You
A Franco-American poet, Jeri Theriault grew up in Waterville, Maine and graduated from Colby College, later earning her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her teaching career spanned thirty-four years, six of them as English Department Chair at the International School of Prague. Her collections include Radost, my red (Moon Pie Press, 2016), In the Museum of Surrender (Encircle Publications, 2013), and (M)other. She is the editor of WAIT: Poems from the Pandemic (Littoral Books, 2021). Her poems and reviews appear in The Rumpus, The Texas Review, The Atlanta Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Plume, and many other publications. Recent awards include the 2023 Maine Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, the 2023 Monson Arts Fellowship and the 2022 NORward Prize (New Ohio Review).