jaimie gusman

jaimie-225x300Jaimie Gusman is a freelance writer in Kaaawa, HI and founder of Mixing Innovative Arts, Honolulu’s longest running reading series. Jaimie has three chapbooks: Gertrude’s Attic (Vagabond Press, 2014), The Anyjar (Highway 101 Press, 2011), and One Petal Row (Tinfish Press, 2011). Her work can also be found in the journals Moss Trill, The Feminist Wire, Sonora Review, BODY Magazine, Trout, Mascara Review, Unshod Quills, LOCUSPOINT, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Hearing Voices, Hawaii Women’s Journal, Spork Press, Shampoo, Barnwood, DIAGRAM, 2 River Review, and others. She is on the web at http://jaimiegusman.com/. Jaimie Gusman Black Radish title, Anyjar, is available through SPD.

Explain the Anyjar

Anyjar on the sill, just jar
and I, inside and removed.

In the dream I am escaping
the narrative of invisible glass.

I try exiting, I keep knocking down
the exit, but the knocks are mute.

My fist warps its woodenness,
its woodenness warps its wood.

Not sure I am awake, my fist
apparent, like a day-kite.

Interview with Timothy Dyke at Queen Mob’s Tea House

Anyjar CoverPraise for Anyjar

What’s the Anyjar? I think it’s a space where anyone keeps loss. Or it is itself loss, but it’s also the jar you make to store loss in. When you are building what you are simultaneously trying to understand, it’s easy to get stuck in it, because the Anyjar isn’t separate from you. It’s hard to get a grip on how memory holds absence in its clear walls. But Jaimie Gusman, in this moving, slippery, smart, ambitious book, cracks the problem open. —Catherine Wagner, author of Nervous Device

Anyjar shows that a poet—if that poet has Jaimie Gusman’s gifts of seeing, knowing, loving, wondering, wandering and sharpening— can write magic without merely being whimsical, can write about reproduction without falling into mist, can take on the great mysteries of death, loss, memory, and family, and still say something wildly new. I love these poems; they make me feel like I’m flying (and not quite like a bird: birds are vexed symbols in this book) because when I read them I’m in the presence of an artist who can make words, feelings, moments, news, newness… fly. Earthward, heaven-bound, speedy or floating, Gusman makes consciousness feel like freedom, like the endlessness of air and possibility even while we’re in our bodies, sitting, suffering, remembering, grieving, desiring, or reading. —Brenda Shaughnessy, author of So Much Synth

Jar: a cylindrical container of glass, enclosed at all but one end, which is either open to the air or closed by a lid. To jar: to disrupt, dislodge. Jars in poetry: the Grecian Urn, a jar in Tennessee. Capable of being seen but not walked through. Transparency as obstacle. In her brilliant debut book, Jaimie Gusman puts all these meanings–and more–into play. And play is the right word for her poems, whose images bend into surrealism but return as fit containers for love poem and elegy both. Anyjar is an object but also a delightful companion to the poet, her lover, her dying aunt and her dead grandmother (whose fey name echoes that of the artist whose painting appears on the book’s cover). “I know I’m real because I’m not infinitely sized. / But this does not stop me from pinching other things,” Gusman writes, cracking language ajar. The lid that opens will be the one that covers your eye. —Susan M. Schultz, author of Memory Cards : Thomas Traherne Series

Jaimie Gusman’s Anyjar fragments a modernist line even further, taking Stevens’ anecdote to different situational certainties, fusing the lines with full-sodden sentiments that build lucidity and defy any overload of the senses. While she says, “Memory is not practical but memory is practice” we understand the serious sense of both memory and practice in these rich poems. In this powerful collection Gusman transmits a confessional pose to its sustaining direct state, with elegance and delivery: “I always hated birds… To think that I could hear you better/is to pretend that where you came from/was singular.” I love the address to Anyjar—“Lover, jar, and I make three silent observances”—which I understand and affix to the centrality of these poems’ themes, addressing the practicality of the lyric address and the use of fragment, quip and short lines to describe with accuracy what is utilized in the practice of exploring memory. —Prageeta Sharma, author of Undgergloom

Jaimie Gusman’s linguistically and conceptually deft collection, Anyjar, nimbly configures the sparklingly electric circuits between content and form, process and product, self and body, body and urn, embryo and mother, domesticity and domicile, witness and representation, expression and language, poetry and poem. These illuminating, intelligent, intense, and strangely lovely poems sizzle and flicker and semaphore from the dark with a magical and miraculous light held within the illusory transparency of glass. —Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Dandarians

This is a personal story, these poems. They give the reader a tangible sense of the body of the speaker. She sees with every human sense, and through her, the reader feels the back pages of another person’s life and dreams. In Anyjar sits the conscious narrowing of experience, the conscious expansion of experience, the reorganization of that same experience. The speaker’s words emerge bravely, but also vulnerably, and sometimes, they emerge with a heartbreaking quiet and hesitance. Gusman’s poems are illustrations, poems that live in the art of the body and the art of the secret mind. —Dena Rash Guzman, author of JOSEPH

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