By Joelle Biele
(Southern Illinois University Press, Paperback, 9780809324682, 80pp.)
Publication Date: September 2002
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In White Summer, Joelle Biele investigates the problems of personal and cultural memory. Rich with images of flight and displacement, Biele’s poems show a love for words, their music and physicality. In lyric addresses, historical meditations, and autobiographical narratives, she takes readers on a journey that includes stops at a dinner party in ancient Rome, a market square in Germany, an Italian feast in the Bronx, and the main concourse of Manhattan’s Grand Central Station. She shows a sharp eye for the telling detail whether she is studying the migrations of birds or sketching portraits of people wishing to escape the confines of their lives. Throughout her first collection, Biele reveals and revels in the power of language to shape and create experience.
A Fulbright scholar and recipient of both the Ruth Lake Award and the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Joelle Biele has been published in the Antioch Review, Hubbub, Indiana Review, the Iowa Review, Meridian, Nimrod, and Epoch. Biele has taught American literature and creative writing at the University of Oldenburg in Germany and has served as a lecturer in the English department at the University of Maryland.
White Summer, the first collection from poet Joelle Biele, is a book full of gorgeous language, delicate yet enduring imagery, and a quiet lyric intensity that is far too rare in contemporary poetry. No life detaila fly, a group of starlings, a festival of dollsescapes Biele’s notice, and we are better for having seen the world through her eyes. Biele’s poems, which range from short lyrics to longer meditations, are startling in their clarity, precise in their diction, and deft in their craft. There’s a fiercely active imagination on display in White Summer, and a reader cannot help but surrender to these portraits of abundance and beauty. This book is alive in the world, not just merely of it.”Allison Joseph, author of In Every Seam and Soul Train
In White Summer, Joelle Biele exhibits a Roethke-like affinity with nature and nature’s creatures. At times a miniaturist, Biele constructs exquisite addresses to a heron, cicada, spider, catalpa tree, mockingbird, snail, cormorant, and others. These pitch-perfect poems are written with a delicate, meticulous attention to craft and music. Like the joy she takes in her subjects, this collection is a joy to read.”
Elizabeth Spires, author of Worldling
Joelle Biele writes that Some stories will never leave you alone.’ Yet White Summer is blessed rather than obsessed with its stories. The writing itself, for one thing, is so effortlessly achieved, so richly sustained, and so inevitably resolved. Biele fills her poems, she doesn’t burden them, even as she lives in two worlds at once: nature and the present; family and the pastone of which is home, the other exile.”Stanley Plumly, author of Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me: New & Selected Poems, 19702000
The sprung rhythms’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins are ghost-glimmerings that spark White Summer’s finely glossed, soul-breathy, delectably lyrical poems, in which Joelle Biele brilliantly explores the fundamental knowing of the Immanence of Nature, and beyonda bravo debut.”Wanda Coleman, 2001 National Book Award nominee for Mercurochrome: New Poems