Universe Suspended

Congratulations to Jordana Rozenman, AGI’20, for publishing two poems in Confluence, the Journal of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs! Both “Winter: Glistening” (featured below) and “Teaching Fire and Water” will be showcased in the Spring 2020 issue.

Two poems by Ms. Rozenman will be featured in the next issue of Confluence, a national, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal published by the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP).

This isn’t Ms. Rozenman’s first run-in with the AGLSP: she and three other Johnnies were also presenters at the annual conference hosted in October in nearby Washington, DC. This year’s theme was “The Commons: Exploring Common Grounds in Uncommon Times,” and her talk, entitled “Literature for Human Beings,” explored her belief in artists who speak to everyone, regardless of circumstance and background.

“The current tendency in progressive education to think that students in the English classroom can only truly relate to an author of their own race is incredibly reductive, both to the student and to the author, and to the idea and purpose of literature.”

Ms. Rozenman, a dancer for most of her life, had been a high school English teacher, a college counselor, and a dance instructor before attending St. John’s College. She’s been composing poems for years, however, and was featured in the print issue of Colloquy last fall. She credits the classes of St. John’s for allowing her to “really come at a text, move on from that text, genuinely without a destination in mind beforehand, and have that not be a cop-out.”

“As one of my favorite tutors, Mr. Sinnett, put it, all we are ever doing with texts, and more profoundly with life, is performing exegesis. We may refine and refine our interpretations, or shift them, but that doesn’t have to negate or betray the prior interpretations; in fact, it may make those prior ones all the more valuable, as they become foundations for the next ones.”

If the same can be said for your poetry, Ms. Rozenman, we look forward to what this foundation will grow!

“Winter: Glistening”

Walking at night with my dad
Over the top layer of snow,
Hardened and hushed in the night,
So smooth, so delicate
That I could crunch it into glittering pieces
Silently into the soft snow below and the sparkle
From the solitary lamppost between my friend’s
Home and my own
Is all I could see when I looked
Down across the vast
Expanse of snow
Between our houses
Glittering, glittering,
White snow and black sky

And every step I took, in my boots
And bundle of scarf and a frozen nose,
In the quiet night
Holding its breath for the
Crystalline sake of the stars,
Crunched right through to the powder beneath
Every step and after one I looked up at my dad
How could this one swift footfall
Soft and small satisfy
Everything you needed
So wild
To strike right to the core
Of the earth and me
And if I held my body
Up gentle and careful
I could suspend myself
On top of the smooth surface and even
Glide a little but the slightest bit of
Weight cracked right through that sheet
And then of course a stomp,
Quiet and deep,
Shot perfect tracks three inches down
Across this alien landscape,
Normally my home,
Stretching out in the dark, glittering, glittering blue and silver,
Sequins sprinkled under the lamppost
Which, paired with the purple rim of the dark sky,
And the silence full of something
Hinted right to my heart
At something

What time was it, I do not know
It felt as late as the universe
Suspended

To read Ms. Rozenman’s other poem, click here.

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