Nature remains a dominant symbolic theme in Jeanne Lohmann’s poetry

This is my life I’m learning late
to accept. Here I am, there I was,
and God knows how we end.

This morning it could be enough
to acknowledge what is here
and to go from my chair into
everything given, all that is
this moment coming toward me.

The poems in Jeanne Lohmann’s new collection, Shaking the Tree, pay attention. Alive with spiritual energy, their measured wisdom is a harvest of connections on which “everything depends.”

These poems are largely about nature, the passing of time, and the interaction between the two. And while nature stands for our well-being (as trees do, a recurring motif in the book), the poet’s experience leads her also to write about human suffering and social problems (war and poverty, hunger, terror), and she dares to hope against the odds. Reaching as a tree reaches, through roots and canopy, the poems acknowledge the significance of religious symbols, call upon biblical and classical allusions.

Most of all, the book resounds with wonder and appreciation for life, for nature, for aging, and for the passage we all must face.

This collection is the work of a mature and skillful poet. She plays with language, making use of words with many meanings. Her choice of form ranges from free verse to strict and rewarding rhyme and rhythms. It is not too much to say that Jeanne Lohmann demonstrates and celebrates the importance of poetry.

Jeanne Lohmann, whose poems have appeared in many anthologies and literary journals, including Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Rosebud, Shenandoah, The Sun, and Western Humanities Review, is a graduate of the Creative Writing program at San Francisco State University. She lives and writes in Olympia, Washington.

Shaking the Tree
Jeanne Lohmann

96 pages, paperback, $14.00

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