Short Reviews

Out of the grist of the past—his own, his family’s and that of the tribes and landforms he has called home, Michael Jennings’ bone-flute songs divine the human essence at the core of myth. With an astonishing range of vocal timbre, from the elegiac to the elemental to the intimate, the poems of Bone-Songs and Sanctuaries put what is ancient before the eye to make it new. As Blake urged, they “cleanse the doors of perception.”

J. C. Todd (Poetry Consultant for the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program and author of What Space This Body, Wind 2008)

Whether he locates himself in the stark Iranian deserts, or the filigreed, ornate streets of his boyhood New Orleans, or in the wildest landscapes of our primal imagination, Michael Jennings strips to the core in a voice that embodies the rhythms of cycles, migrations, seasons, deaths and rebirths. To read his marvelous Bone Songs and Sanctuaries is to enter a world enlivened by an undercurrent of intuition and communion. It is to imagine the desert-wind finally peeling away the body to its cradle of bone and teaching it to sing the essential songs.

Gregory Djanikian (Director of Creative Writing, University of Pennsylvania, and author of six books of poems from Carnegie Mellon Press, most recently Dear Gravity, 2014)

Michael Jennings is the author of Silky Thefts (Orchises Press, 2007), one of the loveliest books to appear in 2007. Superbly crafted, especially the sequence of sonnets for his mother, these lyrical poems travel through both time and space, mining the memories of childhood and youth, of Paris and New Orleans, the exotic scents of an earlier Iran. Metaphor and imagery are outstanding and the diction, its surreally-swirled language, delight the ear. The genuine and intense emotion that permeates each poem gives the reader the experience of recollected love and loss: altogether stunning!

The Comstock Review