Room at Dawn

Jennifer Barber, Colby College


The poems take their subject matter from four major sources: the year I spent in France at age seventeen, living onboard a barge with a group of French and American students; my junior year abroad, which I spent in St. Andrews, Scotland; living in Waterville, Maine, and my experience in relationships. The poems about Scotland and Maine draw heavily from the landscape and the mood which it evokes. The poems about France and relationships deal with the process of loving and the sense of loss, betrayal, passivity or absence which can accompany that process. Poems such as 'Vincent Van Gogh's Letter to Theo' and 'Ivanova' were experiments in imagining something unfamiliar-in the first case, a state of mind, in the second, a village during a particular period. In terms of craft, I have been learning how to recognize and avoid my own tendency toward decorative writing. I have also been learning how to find the direction of a rough poem and revise the poem accordingly, eliminating unnecessary or distracting elements.