Tiny Chasm (Paperback)
39 West Press, 9780990864936, 132pp.
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Tiny Chasm, the third book of poetry by Jeanette Powers, explores the miniscule openings in our psyches in order to reveal the vast infrastructures of our neuroses, anxieties, and joys. It ponders the responsibilities of self to child and society; the ways we are manipulated and conditioned; the struggles of loss and longing; as well as the pathways into awareness and being present.
These poems challenge societal standards, reveal surprising taboos, and don't hesitate to demand accountability. For example, "Enough Pussyfooting" accuses religious radicals of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, "Shadow Children" reviles absent fathers, and "Breadbox" bombastically demeans those who don't press criminal charges against violators of children. The finger-pointing, however, turns inward as well, by taking total acerbic (and existential) responsibility for how one moves forward from victimization and abuse.
Yet alongside the vitriol and unabashed lashing out at cultural injustices, the absurdest side of Jeanette frolics in light-hearted pieces about finding happiness and dating yourself ("Things I Learned from Bill Murray" and "Tangible, Peculiar"). The volume also includes a number of previously unpublished slam poems from her controversial tenure with PoUnd SLAM, a selection of prose, and one of her notorious persona poems, "Just Cause," which is written from the voice of an incipient revolution.
Thus, Tiny Chasm is about the value of things that seem insignificant but are intrinsically essential.