by Eric Stiefel
Jessica Pierce’s debut collection of poetry, Consider the Body, Winged (First Matter Press, 2021) is earnest, contemplative, and hauntingly elegant. Perhaps most importantly, the poems in Consider the Body, Winged are unflinchingly honest; they say what a less courageous poet might shy away from, what a less thoughtful poet might hide behind unnecessary flourish. Throughout the process of reading it, I found myself thinking of Jessica Pierce’s collection as a collection of meditations, each poem devoting its unfettered attention to the subjects at hand, from divinations and incarcerations to postpartum depression and lapsed faith.
The collection opens with a poem called “What do we know of endings?” (p. 13), which begins with an extended hypothetical: “And if the earth could gather up all / it contains, all its clouded greened / burning dusty torrential glory and grit…” the poem continuing on with bloated vultures and scrawny cats drawn into the image, new blues and crescent moons and wicked gods alike. Near the end, the poem turns toward introspection, asking if the world has room for “my grief / and my longing and your grief.” Then, after a pause, the poem makes a point to include “And maybe, / maybe, forgiveness.”Read More