Would Land by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Would Land by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Would Land by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Would Land, the latest poetry poetic collection of Jill Alexander Essbaum is a final impression of a quite extraordinary combination of creative and critical power, of passion and thought.

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Would Land, the latest poetry poetic collection of Jill Alexander Essbaum is a final impression of a quite extraordinary combination of creative and critical power, of passion and thought. The poems contain something new, unexpected at every juncture, and convey feelings in simple and unelaborated expressions. 


Cold, but she never wore overcoats.

Tired, but her cot was rotten and worn.

At a quarter to ten she tried every door.

She had two dry eyes and a mute, mocking pout,

And six dire doubts and seventeen heavens,

And a God who wouldn’t commute her sentence.

She was taxed in a bracket and tossed in a bucket.

She cheated on husbands and sought out her exes.

They didn’t quite hate her so they didn’t quite hit her.

In Run Down, the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings is evident, the poet takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity, the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that, which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. 


Half wall, half hole, part 

port. A kind of gate. But 

wait—it’s not. Locked 

in? You’re out of luck. 

Don’t knock it till you’ve 

tried it. Someone might 

be sleeping. A peek thru 

the key-slot’s as 

good as a bell-ring. For a knob’s

a thing of beauty. Brass 

apple. Shiny knurl. Hold

it. Spin it. Wait for the 

click. Shoulder it open.

Go in.

In Door, the phrase ‘A peek thru the key-slot’s as good as a bell-ring’ enlightens the understanding of the reader and strengthen the sentiments. Moreover, the materialistic aspect of the poetry is quite impressive and looks engaging.

In 4:13 A.M., the essence of the poem seems to be transpired in a downhearted manner. The phrases Even God has nodded off/ And won’t be taking prayers til ten/You scry the glass. Every serrate shadow flays you/Soon enough, the crow will caw/The cock will crow, embed an element of spirituality, supernaturalness, mysticism, and divination. 

4:13 A.M.

The shift of sleepwalks and suicides.

The occasion of owls and a demi-lune fog.

Even God has nodded off


And won’t be taking prayers til ten.

Ad interim, you put them on.

As if your wants could keep you warm.


As if. You say your shibboleths.

You thumb your beads. You scry the glass.

Night creeps to its precipice


And the broken rim of reason breaks

Again. An obsidian sky betrays you.

Every serrate shadow flays you.

In WOULD-LAND, Jill has aptly showed his tremendous spontaneous power of writing in a philosophical tone. The phrase ‘Last night it was snowing/and now/every path’s a pall’ symbolizes a typical contrasting scene between today and yesterday. ‘Though mine the only footfalls/at this hour of awe’, depicts the poet’s solitude in such an eerie atmosphere. ‘Let larksong shudder/to its January wheeze,/but gift these hands a happiness/just once./It is half passed./And I am cold.’ Even the tiniest detail in these lines is remarkable. Every feature of this is remarkable and quite charming and will stay with me forever. 


5 a.m. One-quarter past. 

Distant chimes inform me this. 

A bell peal knells the mist. 

And sunlight’s 

not yet bludgeoning. 

But some light gets blood going. 

Last night it was snowing 

and now 

every path’s a pall. 

Though mine the only footfalls 

at this hour of awe. Above 

hangs a canopy of needle leaf. 

Below, the season’s 

mean deceit— 

that everything stays 

white and clean. 

It doesn’t, of course, 

but I wish it. My prayers 

are green with this intent, 

imploring winter wrens 

to trill and begging scuttling bucks 

come back. 

There’s something that I lack. 

A wryneck 


bullet-beaks a branch. 

His woodworm didn’t have a chance. 

What I miss, 

I’ve never had. 

But I am not a ghost. 

I am a guest. 

And life is thirst, 

at best. 

So do not strike me, Heart. 

I am, too, tinder. 

I’m flammable 

as birch bark, even damp. 

Blue spruce, bee-eater— 

be sweeter to me. 

Let larksong shudder 

to its January wheeze, 

but gift these hands a happiness 

just once. 

It is half passed. 

And I am cold. 

Another peal has tolled. 

I’ve told the sum of my appeals. 

I need not watch for fox. 

They do not congregate at dawn. 


But I would, 

were I one.   

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Would land is a phenomenal poetic collection. Her style of writing poetry with clarity, directness, and spontaneity is marvelous. Some poems contain melancholic events and impactful emotions that look likeable and impressive. All the poems in this book are prototypical and I can surely give a green signal to the readers that this book is worth buying. No wonder readers, after reading this book if you find yourself in a different world. I hope this book may get immense love and support from readers. All the best Jill!

                                                                                                                                                                     --- Rochak Agarwal

Jill Alexander Essbaum is the award-winning author of several collections of poetry including Heaven, Harlot, Necropolis, and the single-poem chapbook The Devastation. Her first novel, Hausfrau, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been translated into 26 languages. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals including Poetry, The Christian Century, Image, and The Rumpus, as well as multiple Best American Poetry anthologies. A two-time NEA fellow, Jill is a core faculty member in The Low Residency MFA Program at University of California-Palm Desert. She lives in Austin, Texas.