And as more people I’ve loved set off on the
journey, I yearn to join them.
It’s not that growing up makes life
lose its lustre, but those lustres
belong to the people we laugh
and eat with, the ones who tell us stories
when we are children, the ones
who promise us one day we’ll see
another world. But now that place is close,
calling, ordering them to say goodbye.
-A place to go; things seen and unseen
In Jeannine Marie Pitas’s first book of poems, Gods are made of carbon and light, walls melt to doors, and alternative selves arrive as Alice in Wonderland, Persephone, and a Pfizer employee. Pitas creates a universe like a snow globe the size of a planet and delicate as a Christmas ornament. Look inside.
Jeannine Marie Pitas’s absorbing poetry in Things Seen and Unseen turns on its restless discovery of new myths of self-making. One poem follows another in an unfolding of surprise as stories of the self evolve to confront, transform or where necessary escape the limits, sometimes the terror, of fact. … This struggle for freedom dominates the book first and last. But such a statement conveys little of Pitas’s inventiveness, her originality of phrase-making, strikingly expressed insights, and enchanting control of line and rhythm. This is true poetry: uniting thought and music, and only known in the reading and re-reading.
—A. F. Moritz
“The objective of every experiment,” according to one of the poems included in Jeannine Marie Pitas’s remarkable first book, “is to explode some old myth of how we’re made/ so we might invent another.” Reading those old myths against the grain. her poems sound, at the same time, both familiar and strange. Little Red might still believe in the kindness of wolves “but she won’t put down her knife.” The poems in Things Seen and Unseen do what true poetry has always done: they reinvent the world and, in so doing, reinvent ourselves.