by Jill Osier
Winner of the 2013 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
As with some singing voices, there are poetic voices of such direct authority and clarity that they capture our deep engagement almost before we are aware that we have begun to listen. Jill Osier’s is such a voice. Like Franz Schubert’s song-cycle Winterreise, these poems of Osier’s take us on a lonely winter-journey through a stripped-down world, in which, as she says, ‘all the roads are well worn, all the wagons breaking.’ Because the poems, each a small, superb vignette with a different angle of light or insight, comprise a true and transformational sequence, after Osier has performed her winter pageant for us, we are not the same people as when we began. To survive in winter, one must go inside, literally and figuratively, and with aching simplicity and sensuality of voice, that is what Osier does. But as much as she presents winter as ‘the correctional,’ a chastening and humbling space-time that every life must eventually experience, inside Osier’s ice is fire. Indeed, she feeds the stove of these poems with such wit and feeling that it’s warm enough inside to take off your shirt and make love—and she does, and we do.”—Patrick Donnelly, 2013 Frost Place Chapbook Competition Judge
“Jill Osier must have a mind of winter. No one writes better about the cold and snow (this is not book blurb hyperbole). Yet her work is imbued with warmth and empathy. This small book is large. The poems are beautiful, smart, and astonishing.” —Gary Short
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