More Than Words: Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky, 61, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she was raised by her mother and three sisters. Bialosky worked hard, as she graduated from Ohio University, then received a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University, and finally got a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She is greatly accomplished, receiving awards such as the Elliot Coleman Award in Poetry.

Today, Jill Bialosky lives in New York City with her husband, David Schwartz, and her son. She is currently an editor at W.W. Norton & Company. She has dedicated her life to writing; publishing nine books. These nine are of different genres, including; four volumes of poetry, including; The Players, Intruder,  Subterranean, and The End of Desire, two memoirs; Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir, and The History of a Suicide: The Story of my Sister’s Unfinished Life, and three novels; House Under Snow, The Life Room, and The Prize. One of the most admirable aspects of this is that most of these are inspired by her own experiences. Not only committed to books, Bialosky has written multiple essays as well.

After reading her poem, “Daylight Savings” in the Best American Poetry: 2016 Edition, I immediately wanted to know more about the author. Her experiences that she wrote about, about raising her child mirrored the relationship I have with my mother.

Wanting to read of her work, I fortunately found the poem, “The Lucky Ones”. This poem immediately grabbed my attention, as it is full of colors and beautiful descriptions of the summers when she was a teenager. My favorite lines are, “Our labor realized in the crowns/ of marigolds, blue eyes of the hydrangeas,/ smell of lavender, and late bloom of the hosta’s/ erect purple flower with its marvel of thick/ green leaves”, due to its clarity and intense imagery. I feel a connection with this poem when I read it over, because it reminds me of my summers with my family in Vermont. “The Lucky Ones”, has a sense of nostalgia, which is what makes it such a strong and emotional poem. With the last lines, Bialosky looks back at the ignorance that she had, which led to innocence. The ending lines, “It was a miracle, our ignorance. It was grace/ incarnate, how we never knew”, enforces the theme of being “lucky”, and completes her work. I love “The Lucky Ones” because of how strongly it pertains to my life, and the beautiful wording of the poem.

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https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/jill-bialosky
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/jill-bialoskys-novel-the-prize-tackles-art-class-and-egotism/2015/09/23/ee235372-6171-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.afce5b3792f3
https://www.jillbialosky.com
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/jill-bialosky

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