Saturday 5 May 2018

3 Poems by Jennifer Dotson

Sandy Hook Orlando Las Vegas
A Golden Shovel poem using a line from T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock[1]

News screams another mass shooting and I do
not know what to do. How can I
stop the gun violence or dare
oppose the NRA, the rabid right to
ban automatic weapons? Bullets eat
victims in a bloody banquet, not giving a
damn if you are black, brown, yellow or peach.

Magicicada Dream, an Etheree[2]

the earth lie
cicada nymphs
sucking sustenance
from large tree roots below
cycling slowly through instar
stages five of development
they dream of translucent wings and flight
while waiting for their signal to emerge


Your warm front
caresses my skin,
an urban heat island
against my distinctly
down draft drizzle.
There’s turbulence
when we’re together,
an upwelling of
fall streaks still I’m
glad for condensation.
No drought of passion
or dry climate.
You dust devil on
my cloud deck.

[1] A Golden Shovel is a poetic form developed by Terence Hayes to honor poet Gwendolyn Brooks.  Using text from an admired poem, the words become the end words for each line in a new poem, whose content does not need to refer to the original text.

[2] The etheree, a syllabic poem containing ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, is named in honor of Etheree Taylor Armstrong, an Arkansas poet who died in 1994.


Jennifer Dotson is the Founder and Program Coordinator for (begun in 2007). Her poetry has appeared in After Hours, DuPage Valley Review, East On Central, Exact Change Only, Poetry CRAM/Journal of Modern Poetry, and Willow Review.  Her poems are included in several anthologies including A Midnight Snack from Poetic License Press and Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace (University of Washington Press). Clever Gretel, her debut collection, received the first Journal of Modern Poetry Book Award and was published by Chicago Poetry Press in April 2013. She teaches poetry, memoir and creative writing classes for Highland Park's Library U program. Jennifer loves actions movies with lots of car chases and explosions – she fantasizes about a future Hollywood blockbuster with a poet who saves the world.

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