Years, Months, and Days (Paperback)
"come to think
how well a coffin
comes at last
to fit a person"
These poems fall like snowflakes. Crisp, beautiful, unique yet familiar. They will make your skin tingle. Readable in one short sitting yet hauntingly memorable, this work examines a breathtakingly thorough range of the human experience in a “meditation on the possibility of translation.” Inspired by Old Mennonite hymns collected and nurtured in Ontario since the mid-19th century and by the associated community cemetery with gravesites whose spare tombstones precisely recorded the “years, months, and days” of their inhabitants’ lives, Jernigan creates a testament to the wonder of living and dying which honors both her own secular worldview and the Mennonite hymnal tradition from which her words were selected.— From Caleb
A NEW YORK TIMES BEST POETRY BOOK OF 2018
A transfiguration of Mennonite hymns into heartbreaking lyric poems, Years, Months, and Days is a moving "meditation on the possibility of translation." Bridging secular spirituality and holy reverence with the commonalities of life, death, love, and hope, Jernigan explores the connection between hymn and poem, recalling the spare beauty of Marilynne Robinson's novels or the poems of Jan Zwicky and Robert Bringhurst. The sparse and tender phrasing of Years, Months, and Days is "an offering of words to music," made in the spirit of a shared love--for life, for a particular landscape and its rhythms--that animates poem and prayer alike.
About the Author
Amanda Jernigan is the author of two previous collections of poems, Groundwork and All the Daylight Hours, and of the chapbook The Temple, published by Baseline Press in 2018. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Parnassus, PN Review, The Dark Horse, Atlanta Review, and The Nation, as well as in numerous Canadian literaries, and have been set to music, most recently by Zachary Wadsworth and Colin Labadie. She is an essayist and editor as well as a poet, and has written for the stage.