Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2009

Eds. Paul Perry and Nuala Ni Chonchuir

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition


Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes.





Jane McKinley


Jane McKinley grew up in Iowa. She received degrees in music from Northwestern University and Princeton University, and studied Baroque oboe in Vienna with the late Jürg Schaeftlein. A professional oboist, Ms. McKinley performs 17th and 18th century music on historical instruments and serves as artistic director for the Dryden Ensemble, a Baroque chamber music group. A relative newcomer to the world of poetry, she was awarded the 2008 Patricia Dobler Award by Carlow University for her sonnet Mud Season, which enabled her to attend their low-residency MFA workshop in Carlow, Ireland. Her first manuscript, Becoming Pan, is still unpublished, while a second one is gathering in the wings. She lives in Hopewell, New Jersey with her husband and two children.



Triptych of Seventh-Grade Art

1. Wax Figure

I learned to model beeswax,
warming bits between my fingers,
feeling what I couldn't see,
ears and eyebrows, noses, lips,
applying pressure to the parts
until the clump became a whole—
a bearded sage with weathered face,
old man my father would never become.

2. Perspective

Our teacher taught us how to draw
in more than two dimensions,
how to connect each surface to the point
where everything becomes so small
it slips into infinity.

At last I'd found a kind of drawing
I could master with sharp pencil
and a straight edge. I set to work
designing my dream room—
boxy cocoon in blue and orange,
a room I wouldn't have to share,
where I could lie and stare at cracks
for hours, behind a door that locked.

The teacher meant to call on me,
but named my sister—three months dead.
I couldn't speak—everything went flat.
Looking down, I watched my pencil
slash straight lines—a highway fenced in
with barbed wire, telephone poles­­­­—
then slipped into another dimension
as lines struck the vanishing point.

3. Light

We saw a painting by Vermeer,
saw the light the milkmaid felt
upon her cheek, watched it turn
crusty bread and creamy milk
to radiance—an ordinary breakfast
transformed. I hurried home
that afternoon, rushed up the stairs
to perch above the second landing,
swathed in colour from leaded glass,
and closed my eyes, still looking
through shut lids toward light,
to warmth transfused from other worlds,
unearthly reds awash with gold.


Author Links

Patricia Dobler Poetry Award

An article on McKinley's work with the Dryden Ensemble


©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15