ABOUT Rachel Jennings

Rachel Jennings grew up in East Tennessee.  She received her B.A. in English literature at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  Afterwards, she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin.  She teaches English composition and literature at San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas.  She is also a member of the Conjunto de Nepantleras at the Esperanza peace and Justice Center.  She has previously published a chapbook, Hedge Ghosts (2003) with LaNana Creek Press.

 

 

Pecan Grove Press

Elijah's Farm
by Rachel Jennings

ISBN: 978-1-931247-51-1 $17

Sandra Cisneros says of Rachel Jennings work:

"I am bound to the voices..." Rachel Jennings declares, "...the sky-tossed voices of past lives."  Whereas kin forget and history is often deaf, this poet remembers as faithfully as any bible plump with names of the living and the dead.  It's to the survivors she pays homage, the barrio rednecks, the hillbilly women, the folks who don't think they make a difference in this world.  At home in Texas or Tennessee, in Aztlan or Appalachia, Jennings knows talk is more than just talk, and poetry is more than just poetry, but necessary medicine for communities ignores."  


Family Letters

for my father, Samuel Jennings

My people, I call them,
but they are not to be kept.

They do not belong to yesterday
or to the hills.

They are not mine to offer
as your ancestors
or your enemies, nor
can their testimony be translated
in a genre
(Southern novel or Western film)
that would make sense to you.

Their voices that pace non-stop
under my skull
are enough. I am bound to the voices.

I can hear
their tones in the letters they write
that arrive in my mailbox
and mosey their
own way
into waiting shoeboxes—
free and untied, the scrawled voices
walk me back to
the hillbilly grammar:
“I hope you a happy birthday”
the father’s pride:
“Dear Daughter Rachel”


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