ABOUT Jo LeCoeur

Jo LeCoeur is a poet and fiction writer.  She teaches English and creative writing at the University of the Incarnate Word.  Her previous books include Blues in a Red-eye Glass, Choc'lit Milk and Whiskey Voices and Blue Orleans.  She has written extensively on southern writers and culture.

 

 

Pecan Grove Press

Medicine Woods
by Jo LeCoeur

ISBN: 978-1-931247-45-0 $8

"Jo LeCoeur says of Medicine Woods that 'these stories came to me as the gift of a part-Choctaw storyteller whose failing memory parallels tribal memory loss.'  LeCoeur occupies these stories, makes them her own in a poetry that is supple and tightly-woven.  It is as if she is the child [she writes about] wrapping her hand around the snake [in "Thick Woods Where Silence Grows"] and inside that fist becomes 'an involuntary push / toward voice.'  Here, in this small book, Jo LeCoeur gives voice to poems that breathe new life into important old Choctaw stories.  Medicine Woods is a collection of elegant, highly-crafted story-poems by a gifted storyteller and poet."

A Note On Translation

Poems before they were stories,
their light refracts at the border between
Chahta ishki imanumpa and English,
and bends again between each telling.
It is not a story until it is four times bent.

Such brightness in her. Such darkness
in her keeping. Age a kind of power in itself.
Who can outlast story’s truth?

Even blind, we see the tribe, elongated
shadows traveling back to the beginning
when there was unspeakable joy
in the brilliance of sunshine.
And who can translate that?

Sometimes the moon is in her voice—
its thin silver drapes a hardwood forest
higher than Chahta totem or Jerusalem temple.

The river glitters by without a sound
angling off toward sandbanks white as noon,
moccasins coiled circular as the seasons
before their long muscular stretch
over and under our tangled roots.


 

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