Poetry. If America is a nation of enthusiasts (for good or ill), the poems in Jean Day's ENTHUSIASM: ODES & OTIUM can be thought of as their anthems. The adventurer, the speculator, the minister, the naturalist, the bandit, the mother--all have some purchase here. Starting from the notion of the ode as "a poem sung by a chorus," these poems campaign for a heroic "voice of history" spoken by individuals. The resulting tensions, between prose and poetic lines, between narrative and song, are revealed in the anxiety of genre. The ode turns into epic, the song turns into jeremiad, the master narrative is cut short by the hired hand going about her business. Throughout, regular people get to act in their own epic situations as global events lumber in the background.
Jean Day has published six books of poetry and several chapbooks, among them THE TRIUMPH OF LIFE (Insurance Editions, 2018), DAYDREAM (Litmus 2017), Early Bird (O'Clock, 2014), and Enthusiasm (Adventures in Poetry, 2006). Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including Nineteen Lines: A Drawing Center Writing Anthology (Roof, 2007), Best American Poems 2004 (Scribner, 2004), Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women (Talisman House, 1998), and In the American Tree (National Poetry Foundation, 1986, reprinted 2002). She lives in Berkeley, where she works as managing editor of Representations, an interdisciplinary humanities journal published by the University of California Press.Author City: BERKELEY, CA USA