A HOUSE IN ITS HUNGER is a collection that grapples with the intimacy of relationships behind closed doors. In this stunning debut, Jennifer Steele cleverly explores the complexities of the body as a dwelling and the compilation of emotional experiences it consumes and harbors over time. The beauty of the collection is in its playfulness with language, where each poem successfully tackles serious subjects, some with refreshing humor, while demanding individual attention to both craft and subject. The result is an assembly and cadence that is both smart and fresh.
Jennifer Steele writes while meditating about the interior, the house as well as the relationship between things. Clothes and nature are touched upon, as is food observed in the hands of a mother. Steele’s long poem “House Guest” is the large mirror in the living room. It’s a poem with an extension chord keeping the reader plugged in until the end. “I told you not to love me, like this” are Steele’s words of caution to the reader who reads too fast. A HOUSE IN ITS HUNGER contains poems with teeth. There is also sadness in this collection which stems from what we leave behind when the doors to our homes lose the keys to love.
Steele is the night watch-woman of the silenced and sublime that live among us. Her spotlight language around the loves, the loneliness, and those hidden places that keep our diary histories, gets released in her aperture of verses. What wasn’t said in those long lost memories gets said, and heard in these beguiling poems.
So To Speak, Spring 2011
Reverie: Midwest African American Literature, 2010
Warpland Journal, 2006
Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop