Kathleen Jesme is the author of Albedo, Ahsahta Press, 2014. Meridian: Tupelo Press, Winner of the Snowbound Chapbook Prize, 2012. The Plum-Stone Game: Ahsahta Press, 2009. Motherhouse: Pleiades Press, 2005. Winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize; finalist for the National Poetry Series; nominated for the Poets’ Prize. Fire Eater: University of Tampa Press, 2003.
I met Kathleen when I sat on the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants Panel for Poetry. I was the token spoken word poet, an underrepresented population on poetry and literature grants panels, for a number of reasons, and there was something about Kathleen’s demeanor and approach that made me believe she would be a very good mentor for a poet like me. She pushed me to explore a lot of different types of poetry, to read a lot and to try a lot of different kinds of writing, different styles and philosophies. Working with Kathleen allowed me to find some experimental ways of expressing myself, my own new forms and rhythms.
I liked working with her as my mentor so much that I was nervous to see her perform her work, for fear that her poetry would disappoint me. I had no reason. There was something about her work that made me feel incredibly at home, as if I were in my mother’s kitchen, or in my grandmothers kitchen with my aunts, or walking around the farm. Her poems don’t make me homesick, they make me feel as if I am home. The poem she wrote and recorded for this week’s Ring Ring Poetry is no exception, familiar and present, as if one were walking with Kathleen and she were inviting you into a final walk through summer. Phone (612) 223-POEM and be transported.