Grouped into four sections, the poems in this collection relate to the writer's experience of diving “into the destructive element” (in Joseph Conrad's words), naked, vulnerable, stripping off clothes, masks, and preconceptions in a process of connecting with the “creative spirit” in a way that is playful, loving, emotionally rich and wet, care-full, and spontaneous. These poems are conversations with the living, the dead, and the world itself.
I thought of you today, / your fear of falling / down, down, / out of bed, off the edge / of the known world -- "Snow Angel"
Ellen Jaffe is one of our most intimate poets. Her heart lets in both dark and light, and she knows which rules to break and which to keep. A poet of the hearth, the kitchen and the back yard, she is also a wondrous guide to the impossibly high cardinal, to monarch butterflies that gather like souls, a deer with sumach-soft antlers and the iridescent, spell-casting flower of Varadero.
Ron Charach, author of Forgetting the Holocaust
ellen jaffe brillyant book skinny-dipping with th muse sz evn tho humans ar mal adaptiv n want 2 conquer othrs n ar cruel n whn can we stop th carnage n tortur until evreewun duz n evenshulee th natural world will not b abul 2 surviv what humans dew ths book is a record n a plea 4 pees strong n resolute n intimate ths is writing uv great beautee n depth
Ellen S. Jaffe views the world with a woman’s eye, often employing images based in the everyday details of domesticity. The reader is led into kitchens, busy with pots of soup, and bread “rising in the dark.” Like flowers planted to remember those who have gone before, the poems are embedded in nature and earth, steeped in the importance of family. This book tracks a life – its losses, discoveries and joys, “taking us deep and sure / away from shore / to all the places where we need to go.”
- Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award (shortlisted)