Poetry Reading by Jeanne BrynerPosted May. 6, 2010
Kent State University at East Liverpool Diversity Committee,the KSUEL English Department and Coffee Fusion recently sponsored poetry readings by Jeanne Bryner from her new book No Matter How Many Windows.
Seven years of research, looking through family letters, public records, and the oral histories that provide human insights into generations of family resulted in Jeanne Bryner’s new book of poetry No Matter How Many Windows. Her poems tell the stories of four generations of women: her great-grandmother, her grandmother, her mother, and herself.
“After the chores were done we would gather on the porch at night and tell stories,” Bryner says. Those stories took her to a love of language and to an understanding of the importance of stories, whether in poetry, prose, or memoir.
Bryner says she "wants to bear witness to life's struggles while also embodying its moments of grace." The struggles of her family include the hard life of a farm wife, even though that life was sweetened by the world of and around the farm, and the even harder life that came with moving away from family, friends, and a country environment that granted some peace.
Bryner writes of life in the housing projects, of the illness of her mother, and the effects on the family of the hard life of working men in the steel mills. Jim Daniels, who is himself a poet, writes of Bryner's work that she has "rare gifts: a level gaze, a keen heart, and 'ears to hear' what people mean by what they say.
A former registered nurse who often worked in the emergency room, many of Bryner's earlier books tell the stories of nurses, the patients and families that nurses come in contact with. Eclipse: Stories examines lives that are richly textured, the stories of a master storyteller. Tenderly Lift Me and Bryner's related play, Intensive Care, tell the stories of nurses, past and present. Intensive Care has been produced through Case-Western Reserve University, Cleveland, in Los Angeles, California, the Art Institute of Akron, and in Scotland, to name only a few of the venues.
Bryner's chapbook Breathless, selected for publication by the Kent State University Wick Chapbook Series, examines nursing and patient experiences, providing insights into the lives of nurses both at work and at home. Blind Horse tells stories of the out-migration from Appalachia and the harsh life of the families of steelworkers in the mid-20th century.
Music by Doug and Dave with Poetry Readings by Karen Kotrba
Tuesday, May 18th 4:00pm- 7:00pm at:
129 East 5th Street
East Liverpool, OH 43920