Bright Turquoise Umbrella

by Hermine Meinhard

$16.95

“Meinhard’s receptive devotion to dreams and folktales of earth, sky, animals and insects, places her among the most gifted portraitists of our time. In four distinct chapters, Oscar Wilde’s ‘life is too important to be taken seriously,’ whispers through a lullaby that falls, singing reversals and contradictions, ‘from the Tree of Heaven.’”—Andrew Levy

Format: paperback

ISBN: 978-1-932195-10-1 Categories: ,

What better way to follow a child into womanhood than through the shifting, magical landscape of portents and signs? In Bright Turquoise Umbrella, Hermine Meinhard shakes up the physical world, leaving us mesmerized. Leaving us changed. She possesses the secret of dreams, and like a Sherpa for the soul, helps us climb to a place that is lyrical and enchanting, lighter than air, even when revealing something utterly shocking. Fish make prophecies, beheaded women sing, and time turns boundless. This is poetry that rewires our experiences—what we most treasure and what we most fear—in a way that reaches us organically, that sets us buzzing.

In these utterly intriguing poems, vivid, disquieting, even violent images collude with a gentle lyrical voice to produce an unusually affecting poetry. These poems transfix us as Hermine Meinhard takes our hand — for she is nothing if not gentle—and leads us deep into the unconscious—hers, and ours.

 

On the Porch

Grandfather was in heaven
feeding the ducks
and I was in your lap with peaches.
I can’t say exactly when this happened.

Grandfather was in heaven and you were somewhere
and I was eating strawberries.
Later I ate something in a room with enormous
ceilings. The sun was shining. This was after
I was sitting in your lap and eating pears
and talking about something. I was small and old.

Or else I was not that old
and Grandfather was asleep on the porch.
You’d gone away
or I’d left you.
I was either in heaven or alone.
I was eating apples.
Grandfather was feeding the ducks.

 

Bright Turquoise Umbrella

I asked the octopus a personal question
about his arms.
I bent back my thumb, separated my fingers
like scissors. He quietly moved away.

The sea was filled with red weed which wrapped
itself around my legs. When I emerged,
nothing was familiar: my knee, with the brown mark
like a chicken eye — my toes, little boxes, the pinky
straying like a wild hair.

On the beach was a red blanket, a beach ball, a bright
turquoise umbrella, and a man.
He was making lunch, slicing fish onto bread,
cutting up a peach.
There was orange juice and milk on the blanket,
and music from a radio — and the man’s feet,
which stuck out over the edge of the blanket,
moved to the music.

He looked up and gave a little wave. My hair was still wet.

Additional information

Weight .4 lbs
Dimensions 6 x .5 x 9 in

hermine meinhardHermine Meinhard’s poems have appeared in Barrow StreetLunaHow2La Petite ZineKalliopeThe Prose Poem and other publications. The winner of the Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Award, she teaches at New York University and the New York Writers Workshop at the Jewish Community Center Manhattan. She is poetry editor of the literary journal 3rd bed.

Awards:

Finalist, Poetry Society of America, 2005 Norma Farber First Book Award
Finalist, Poetry Society of America, 2004 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award
Grand Prize Winner, 1993 Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Award
Nominee, Pushcart Prize
Fellowships at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and the Blue Mountain Center.

 

“Meinhard’s receptive devotion to dreams and folktales of earth, sky, animals and insects, places her among the most gifted portraitists of our time. In four distinct chapters, Oscar Wilde’s ‘life is too important to be taken seriously,’ whispers through a lullaby that falls, singing reversals and contradictions, ‘from the Tree of Heaven.’”—Andrew Levy

“In Hermine Meinhard’s poems, everything is, as the French poet Robert Desnos once said, ‘as if in a child’s picture.’ Naive and wise at the same time, and also terrible and disturbing. They are delicate necklaces of gestures, imaginative spaces where bodies and fables get grafted onto and grow into each other. I love the gentle waywardness of Meinhard’s storytelling, her habitual methodology ‘agitating and seeking’ to find the self. This is remarkable work that startles as much as it soothes.” —Elaine Equi

In these lucid dreams of revelation, Hermine Meinhard takes as her starting point the most mysterious territory of the soul. Amazed and hurt, joking in fear, loving and experienced, all at once, she is one of those few artists (Kafka and Fra Angelico come to mind) whose simplicity and skill deliver the refreshment of a deeper tenderness toward being.—Brooks Haxton

Pleiades Review of Books featured a fine review of Bright Turquoise Umbrella.

See review by Laura Sims in Jacket Magazine.