The Ailing Hotel by Jenn Blair
The poems in Jenn Blair’s The Ailing Hotel seem to spring from a different time, or a place unchanged by time; like prayers for the dead and living, they explore the grief that springs from the desire for goodness to triumph in a world where “not all things love one another.” I admire these poems for their wisdom and restraint; each poem is like a flexed, well-trained muscle of beauty and precision.
Where grief is the ruler of tasks, Jenn Blair gives us a tiny world and a speaker who turns to work and “Fence post, prophet, lattice/ work of bird, gleaned hills/ wise to glory—struck dumb—/ their tongues shorn stone.” Blair’s narratives are spare and fragmented, her images sharp and distilled.
–Maya Jewell Zeller, author of Rust Fish and Yesterday, the Bees
In The Ailing Hotel, Jenn Blair’s lyric poems consider the “whole enterprise,” the disjuncture between desire and experience, “the mud/ and gut of the struggle and dance” and how “the heart too makes its own slight/ adjustments.” Spare and apocryphal, there is yet beauty: “vertebrae of fern, spine of shell.”
–Lynn Pedersen, author of The Nomenclature of Small Things