Happy #ThrowbackThursday, Bookwyrms! Today I’m celebrating my 12th Blogiversary with a very special review. You may know Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays; we’ve been following each other’s blogs for over a year now, and she’s just published a poetry collection that I just KNEW I needed to read, for obvious reasons… 😉
Jeanne Griggs. Postcard Poems. Frankfort, KY: Broadstone, 2021.
Rating: 5 out of 5 pieces of the Berlin Wall mailed to you as a sign of hope and relief.
Playlist: NeriSiren’s Car Radio playlist. This is my most extensive collection, an eclectic AF list that ranges from David Bowie to Loreena McKennitt to Kernagis to Mamontovas to Gorillaz to Alanis Morissette to tUnE-yArDs to Taylor Swift to Midival Punditz to…
It’s perfect for long road trips when I’m in the mood for an epic genre mashup, without the total chaos of public radio stations.
Coffee Pairing: Swing by your favorite local drive-thru and order a tall Red Eye — that’s regular coffee with a shot of espresso — to power you through at least three states before your first hotel stop.
If it’s a summer trip, you could even try a cold brew with espresso! (Disclaimer: I have not personally tried either of these, so Your Mileage May (literally) Vary…don’t come at me if you find yourself twelve states later, chattering “JavaJavaJavaJava” like Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle).
Postcard Poems is part travelogue, part memoir-in-verse, giving us glimpses into Jeanne’s extensive travel history in the form of short poems written on minimalistically-rendered postcards. It’s all text — the poem on the left and the recipient’s name and city on the right — save for a blank rectangle in the upper-right corner of each page where a stamp would go.
But the vivid verbal imagery fills in all the blanks and inspires me to look up anything I’m not familiar with. Where’s Antelope Canyon? Does the Marie Laveau Voodoo Museum still exist??
But, of course, these poems are about more than just long road trips and unique attractions. They’re about family — children growing up and leaving home, college visits and summer reunions, adventures remembered and adventures not always shared.
They’re about loved ones living all over the country, “sometimes travel[ing] with…but sometimes just get[ting] a postcard.” It’s about getting through the isolation of the past two years by remembering past adventures and planning future ones. It’s about honoring the people in her life who’ve transformed each trip into a story.
There’s the time she got yelled at by the next-door neighbors for playing cards too loudly in Cape Santa Maria…and the time she scanned the cliffs of Mesa Verde for the near-invisible dwellings that made her wonder what happened to the people as they got older, less able to climb…
There’s the time she joined a protest at Mount Vernon public square, ignoring the 9 out of 10 drivers who made rude gestures and only belatedly learning of the one who gave a thumbs-up…
And the time she looked down on the valley that inspired Tolkien’s Rivendell, only to realize it was literally overshadowed by the mountains, gorges, glaciers and goats.
Thank you so much, Jeanne, for sharing this collection with me! You’ve further fueled my already raging wanderlust, triggering even more road trip daydreams — maybe a trip to the northeast coast, trying more kooky ice creams in Kennebunkport and marching in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
Maybe a drive up Ventura Highway, from Santa Monica Pier (where I’ll probably be like those easily-dazzled tourists Jeanne remembers, reacting unguardedly to the street performers) to Piedras Blancas and Half Moon Bay (it seems Jean and I are both literary travel junkies 😀 ).
If you’re looking for post-pandemic travel inspo, I highly recommend Postcard Poems. You can find copies at the Broadstone website, as well as at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and Bookshop.org.
Happy trails, Bookwyrms! Where was the last place from which you sent a postcard? Where’s the first place (or series of places) you want to go in 2022? Inspire me in the comments!
Brendan Fraser Java GIF from tenor.