The South Dakota State Poetry Society is thrilled to announce the publication of Jodi Andrews’ debut full-length collection of poetry, Skin Reverberations. “Since I was young, I’ve written poems to process life, especially difficulty,” said Andrews. “When I took my first poetry class in 2015, I learned to craft those ramblings.”
Andrews, who teaches English courses at South Dakota State University and lives in Brookings, published a chapbook, The Shadow of Death, with Finishing Line Press in 2018. Although it explores the experience of grappling with a cancer diagnosis, Skin Reverberations weaves survivorship with themes of motherhood and family. “In Skin Reverberations, I write about my physical scars as markers of the physical and psychological toll of disease, and the lines between before and after. The book includes several ekphrastic poems, in which I draw on art as inspiration. South Dakota’s extreme weather appears throughout the book, often as metaphor. It also includes celebratory poems about young love and young motherhood.”
Editor Kathleen Henderson Staudt writes that Skin Reverberations invites “readers to notice afresh the gifts of our sense of touch, from scarred flesh to lover’s caress, to the iciness of winter to the touch of sun and the fuzz of an infant’s cheek. Through the richness of this sensory experience we also experience the many dimensions of a cancer survivor’s journey, from diagnosis, through the indignities of treatment and the terrors of false alarms, emerging with a deepened appreciation for the precariousness of life and for everything our skin can feel.”
Skin Reverberations is distinguished as the first single-authored full-length book published by SDSPS. “As South Dakota poet laureate from 2019-2021, I edited the anthology South Dakota in Poems. In doing so, I learned just how many good writers live in South Dakota, and yet there aren’t many publishers in the state who publish poetry,” said Christine Stewart-Nuñez. “With approval from the SDSPS board and funding by the South Dakota Humanities Council, I opened the first call for book manuscripts in 2021. Among the submissions, Skin Reverberations was selected by myself and Lee Ann Roripaugh, also a past poet laureate. It was then peer reviewed by two established writers who don’t live in the state.”
Andrews was “deeply honored” to have Skin Reverberations chosen to be published by Pasque Press: “I love sharing how writing has enhanced my life,” said Andrews. South Dakota has a rich poetry culture, and I’m so proud to be part of it.”
Although membership in SDSPS includes copies of Pasque Petals and the annual chapbook contest winner, funds for Pasque Press publications comes from fundraising and direct sales. Please support this endeavor so we can publish future books by South Dakota and South Dakota affiliated authors!
More praise for Skin Reverberations:
This gorgeous collection tips between beauty and a dangerous precision as Jodi Andrews dissects the consequences of betrayal by one’s own body: the strangeness of the surgeon’s invasion, the imperfect knitting of skin “pulled taught and rigid like vellum.” Andrews excels at laying bare the cold fear of an unwelcome diagnosis but just as skillfully celebrates beauty and clarity in unexpected places: the Chihuly glass at the Mayo Clinic are “explosions of jubilation like fireworks / frozen in time” that “invite our eyes heavenward.” Winter poems sparkle throughout the collection, offering not only beauty and clarity but also protection, for it is bundled against the elements that Andrews can “…forget etched surgeries. I see stardust / in snow-covered grass and streets… / I swathe myself in snow / like a fur I’ve harvested…” By the time Andrews veers into a second, potentially deadlier diagnosis mid-collection (read and reread the brilliant “As If”!), we trust her implicitly as she leads us through the precarious nature of relief to experience—thank God—the skin-on-skin warmth of new life.
— Susan Gilbert-Collins, author of Starting from Scratch
Skin Reverberations is a rich visceral experience, an invitation to the senses. Aptitude for astute observation lends the work a spiritual and philosophical complexity necessary to navigate the transient nature of our own existence. A tangible femininity and nod to lineage from ancestors to descendants builds an archetype extending far beyond the “I” of the speaker. Jodi Andrews skillfully offers metaphors like harvesting questionable lymph nodes in relation to harvest of crops that help us sort through daunting territory. Deep gratitude to Andrews for her willingness to lead our way in such vulnerable and critical conversation.
–Angela Dribben, author of Everygirl
65 pages, $16.00
published by Pasque Press / South Dakota State Poetry Society
Available via: www.sdpoetry.org and the author.
Contact the poet for readings or workshops: