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Jane Mead is the author of four previous collections of poetry, most recently Money Money Money | Water Water Water (2014). Her poems appear regularly in journals and anthologies, and she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant. She teaches at the low residency MFA program at Drew University and Farms in northern California.

With sorrow, we’ve learned of Jane Mead’s passing on September 8, 2019. Jane’s moving long poem World of Made and Unmade graced the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist. From it, we can all glean that the process of death includes much to revere and to embrace. “Her language serves loss as a bell serves its chime,” the Griffin Poetry Prize judges exulted. In this loss to the poetry world, Jane has left us much to treasure and celebrate.

Jane’s publisher Alice James Books offers this lovely tribute.

World of Made and Unmade

Alice James Books
2017 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

Jane Mead’s poem, World of Made and Unmade, moves with elegance between elegy and harvest, between the work of practical care to the unmooring that loss precipitates.

Jane Mead’s poem, World of Made and Unmade, moves with elegance between elegy and harvest, between the work of practical care to the unmooring that loss precipitates. The poem allows for the intrusions of dogs and the laundry room flooding, acknowledging how the force of our days persists in the company of the dying. And how those disruptions are sometimes what can help carry us, sustain us through the experience, realign our spirit, or afford us reprieve. And in the midst of this is the poet’s mother, the life she has lived persuasive and just as vital. Mead moves from the days’ demands, engaged and articulate, to depict the service, the duty, and the company the dying require. Occasionally, the poem is still, reflective, posited at the bottom edge of the page, engaging in the ongoing conversation and the reckoning. Her language serves loss as a bell serves its chime. In her life, Mead’s mother planted and cared for 2001 pecan trees; her legacy, an orchard. In World of Made and Unmade, her life asks her daughter’s ‘How will you spend your courage?’ This poem seems that brave response.