Visitations by Jenny Bates
"Jenny Bates is a listener to nature’s whisper. From the collection’s first poem, 'Sacred,' she reveals her passion toward this relationship by embracing the impossible juxtaposed to the how and why. To call her a nature poet, a keen observer, would be accurate, but she expands her mission from scribe to embrace a truer purpose as most-willing servant. She is compelled to chronicle the layers of nature’s relationship to itself and to humanity, but at levels unfamiliar to many of us. In 'Fin,' she relates 'hunting masterfully / through the moon glow / bending in the clear night.' Whether in the familiar foothills of North Carolina or in locales distant and remote, she mixes her pilgrimage with both prescience and pillage, always gasping and grappling with nature’s hard lessons, interpreting backwoods fables and songs of small victories, or lasting sadness. Jenny embraces any ecosystem’s revelations equally with her personal mysteries. This willingness is condensed in her lovely poem 'The Last Monarch,' and how we are—and may always be—intruders to nature’s realm, Our Kingdom is enclosed in yours. Visitations shares what Jenny has bravely discovered deep in the forest, and also deep in her heart."
—Sam Barbee, author of That Rain We Needed (Press 53)
"To read Jenny Bates’ stunning new collection, Visitations, is an invitation to absorb the words and energy coming from each poem. I found myself reading slowly; to do justice to each poem and so there would be another the next day and the next! I am in awe of Bates’ writing and soul/spirit. 'Mighty' is, indeed, an excellent description. I would venture to add that her poetry is ancient in origin, its depths and heights reaching from the center of the Earth to beyond the stars. What immediately came to mind as I started to read was W. B. Yeats—a poet close to my heart. Bates writes with the same intensity and skillful use of language. It is a stunning collection! The earth and humankind need Visitations."
— Rita Reynolds, author of Blessing the Bridge and Not Only When the Rain Falls
If your soul is on a quest to balance the myriad minutia of life in the twenty-first century, then poet Jenny Bates’ third collection, Visitations, is a must-read. Bates’ answers lie in the forest surrounding her home where by night the master vocals of the Barred Owl always call her to a portal of growth. By day, the Red Shouldered Hawk beckons to complete the summons, “Observe.” Whether plant or animal, wild or domesticated, Bates’ communion with all that is not human, leads to a forgotten realm of holistic knowledge. Divided into four sections— Trust, Serve, Wait, Hope— seventy-four poems explore the red clay of her Carolina home and the bones it holds ("Be Still, Red Clay (eulogy for a homeless dog)"; searches for the voices of wild geese and kestrals ("Jabber Walk through Wonder-land"); and "mimic compelling anthropoid gestures" in the title poem, "Visitations."
Through the pages of this idiomatic, metaphysical collection, a gentle relationship between the mirror selves of naturalism and fantasy charm the unfeigned reader.
Jenny Bates, born and raised in Michigan, resides as poet in the foothills of North Carolina. She is a member of Winston-Salem Writers and NC Poetry Society. She has two published books, Opening Doors: an equilog of poetry about Donkeys (Lulu Publishing, Raleigh) and Coyote with Coffee, a single poem fine craft volume (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, Tobaccoville). Both books reside in the collections of Libraries and Universities (Vanderbilt and the University of Vermont) in the United States and England.
Her work has also been published in Flying South, Winston-Salem Writers premier literary work. She is a consecutive contributing poet in the Winston-Salem Writers series Poetry in Plain Sight, and in 2017, she was a top 10 Finalist in the Press 53 Single Poem Contest. On the 100th Anniversary of WWI, she was asked to write poetry launching a website dedicated to the history and contributions of Donkeys and Mules during WWI. These poems now reside in the archives of the Animals in War memorial in London.
Her poetry is a reflection of her philosophy of life: All humans have learned about being human by what we have gained from observing our fellow animals. With a much longer history than humans, animals have learned perhaps not to accept, but to respect their differences. Jenny's newest work to be published has appeared in the Fall Issue 2017, Spring 2018/Fall 2018 of laJoie, a quarterly publication of Animals' Peace Garden, dedicated to promoting appreciation for all beings. All profits donated to animal and Earth-supportive organizations. Published 2018 in Wild Goose Poetry Review. Jenny currently volunteers as animal whisperer and helping hand at Plum Granny Farm, an organic local farm in Stokes County, North Carolina.