Janice Dewey’s career in literature and teaching began at a young age with scholarships to live and study in both Argentina (American Field Service) and Chile (Fulbright). She interviewed and published about Jorge Luis Borges and shook Pablo Neruda’s hand after one of his readings in Santiago.
She has taught Spanish, women’s studies, humanities, and contemporary poetry at the University of Arizona and its Poetry Center for decades and made the documentary video Waist-High in the World about disability writer Nancy Mairs, which is available on YouTube. This is her first book at age seventy-three.
How to Feed a Horse
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
How to Feed a Horse is a manuscript in three parts: One, “Ranch Poems,” activities, contemplations, awareness of the creek environment. Two, “Numerology,” disparate poems that invite us to consider the absurd in our language, politics, history, and human relationships. Three, “Her(e),” conversations with a network of women, some imagined, some historic, some intimate. The author’s preoccupations with climate change and our deteriorating planetary environment surface as she gives herself over to be witness to the landscape, its decline and perseverance, its glory and rich legacy. The poems are also love poems; they show the ecstasy and shock of the now.
“What a deep delight to discover the poetry of Janice Dewey—a distinctive voice with attitude—wry, original, resonant; hairpin turns of phrase: ‘journey looking for the carnal door to weightlessness again;’ inner and outer magically confounded: ‘her head out in the hurricane of consciousness.’ Her poems uncannily trans-scribe—writing feelingly across the arbitrary border between humans and the rest of nature: ‘prone on the ground an event of sincere gratitude,’ and, with the coyote: ‘ears prickled, giant sound receptors for desert wisdom.'”—Eleanor Wilner, recipient of the Robert Frost Medal and the MacArthur Fellowship
“How to Feed a Horse conjures the extraordinary beauty of a certain diminishing but surviving West. Dusty hills, canyon wrens, scurrying quail, horses, ‘biting flies,’ the ranch, the tree, the sky—all are memorialized in these meticulously observed, beautifully crafted poems. Dewey’s remarkable first book is a testimony to the power of the lyric to ‘crack . . . language alive with memory holes,’ to make us look again and think again at what we may be losing, what may already be lost. So smart, so moving! Brava Janice!”
—Karen Brennan, author of little dark