On Little Spells
"Beyond the images and their sounds, beyond the narrative and grief’s recurrences, the book’s silences startle. They invite the reader to listen. Rather than relying on pyrotechnical snazzy dazzle, the poems offer a fierceness that, to paraphrase Dickinson, stuns you by degrees.
Whether a known territory—a shared experience—or an unfamiliar realm, these poems lead the reader, almost as though strolling across a meadow where we find “the last cinders of dusk falling into place.” Suddenly night drops, the moon appears, and you see everything you’ve just passed differently, above and under the surfaces. Little Spells resonates with presence and emotional space—an amplitude that lets you breathe through each separate story, each anticipation and anguish, with the hard-won trust that the world will see spring again."
--Poetry Northwest [read the full review]
On How to Live on Bread and Music
“Lucid, fluid, and lovely, How to Live on Bread and Music is a compendium of experiments in advancing the imagination.”
—Coldfront [read the full review]
“Jennifer Sweeney’s second collection of poems is generous and sympathetic, melodic and transforming. Her playful yet incisive language, rich in imagery and metaphor, serves the larger purpose of helping us see our relationship to each other and the natural world with fresh eyes.”
“How to Live on Bread and Music is not only a volume of great range and depth, but is full of sonorous, deeply felt poems that evoke Marianne Moore’s famous adage that our best verse strive to create ‘a place for the genuine.’”