It took me a few years to get around to reading Adele Kenny’s collection of poems, A Lightness, A Thirst, Or Nothing At All (Welcome Rain Publishers), but better late than never. I apologize, Adele, since you and I live in the same town, serve the same public and and have crossed paths many times in the past couple decades. It’s not every town that has its own poet laureate, so we’re lucky here in Fanwood to have Adele.
If you spend some time at adelekenny.com, you’ll see she’s been writing poetry since childhood. She has been writing, teaching writing and publishing her work for decades. She’s been an English teacher and a poetry judge. Here in Fanwood she is best known for curating the Carriage House Poetry Series which, along with poetry partner Tom Plante, has brought regional poets to Fanwood’s Carriage House for more than twenty years, treating welcoming audiences to the beauty of written and spoken words.
The minute I began reading this book of poetry, I realized I had to turn off the TV and move to a quiet place. These words need to hit you without distractions. When Jimi Hendrix asked “Are you experienced?” I doubt he had Adele’s poetry in mind, but if he had lived longer, he might have. These works aren’t about iambic pentameter and clever rhymes. They stab at stark truths and peel layers away from deeply-held core beliefs that masquerade as the bullshit of our lives. There are also blossoms of beauty coloring dark places and yes, splashes of joy.
I wrote poetry in my youth, but traded it for journalism because it suited my pragmatic personality. Reading Adele’s work reminded me of what I learned in high school, then promptly forgot–that wielding words as art is powerful in the right hands and as moving as a painting or a song. As a writer, that’s inspiring. Thanks, Adele.