Jean Tupper
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Biography

 

 Jean Tupper has worked as a magazine writer and editor, but her first writing love is poetry.  As Pit Menousek Pinegar says, "Jean writes poetry that sings with humor, irony, wit, wisdom, and the gentle touch that so distinguishes both woman and poet."  She presents poetry both solo and with the Fine Line Poets in Massachusetts.  She also reads and workshops with the Wood Thrush Poets, a Connecticut-based group of six published poets who have been colleagues and friends for more than 25 years. She has given many readings, with both groups, in schools, libraries, and bookstores throughout New England.  A graduate of Simmons College's School of Publication, Jean later completed her MA  in English at Central Connecticut State University, with a thesis on the Irish poet Seamus Heaney's use of metaphor. She has studied with Brendan Galvin, Gerald Stern, Paul Zimmer, Heather McHugh, Gail Mazur, Melanie Braverman, Kinereth Gensler, and others: at CCSU, The Frost Place in Franconia, NH, Mt. Holyoke Writers' Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.

While living in Connecticut (until 1990 when she returned to the Boston area), Jean was a member and past secretary of the Connecticut Poetry Society and taught creative writing at New Horizons in Farmington, CT.

A frequent workshop facilitator and mentor to developing writers, her work has been published in many fine literary magazines, such as Carquinez Review, The Madison Review, The MacGuffin, The Nebraska Review, Oregon East, The Paterson Literary Review, Rio Grand Review, THEMA, Southern Poetry Review, West Wind Review, Wisconsin Review, Worcester Review.

Jean has recently completed a book of poems written over the past two decades entitled Woman in Rainlight and a chapbook of "mother poems," expressive of the mother-daughter bond and bind in those last poignant years, entitled "The Unravelings."

MOTHER NASTY

 

is after me again.

She’s been eating

her redhot pepper pills

 

and the devil

pops out of her

medicine kit

 

with an idea that’s

really twisted,

devious

 

something she just

remembered

I did as a little girl

 

like wetting my pants

& coming home from

school with chapped legs

 

or burying

the book I threw up on

in the backyard.

 

Now she’s telling

everyone at the beauty shop

my age—Doesn’t my little girl

 

look young for 60?—

all the while

she’s sticking pins in

 

her Jeanie voodoo doll.

My head feels like

that old man’s in church

 

that never stops bobbing

up and down, up and down.

I’m shaking inside too

 

like the flu’s got me—

first the chills,

then dizzying hot waves.

 

It’s sick how

she loves and hates

at the same time:

 

clings and squeezes

the life out of me

with her love tentacles

 

then walks over me

like an army of red ants,

stinging my flesh raw.

 

If she really loved me

wouldn’t she

make me some wings?

 

Stitch them with

her finest needles?

Lift me with her blessings as I fly?

Jean Tupper

from the Paterson Literary Review

JANUARY

 

“Life’s too much for ordinary mortals.”

            Mary Tyler

 

Everything’s falling apart,

right down to the handle

on the front door

that broke off this morning

like an icicle;

 

but the blue spruce

on this New England deck,

wrapped, roots and all, in burlap,

was our choice: a living tree

to drape in multi-colored lights

for Christmas. Now under siege,

her branches look like arms

weighed down in sorrow,

from the weight of many snows.

 

In a fresh blizzard

tree drifts like the ghost

of a white ship in a white-out

and vanishes beneath

billowing waves of snow;

but somewhere down under

this sea tonight: a muffled glow,

like the memory of light.

Jean Tupper

from the Wisconsin Review

WITE-OUT

 

Rather than cross out fait accompli        

items on your To Do List

with inky Bic or black magic

that invariably bleeds through

to the next page and makes it look  

even more thick and threatening         

than the original commands,

why not make them disappear?

 

What you do is buy a little bottle

of super-white, super-smooth

cleanup fluid, the goop that promises

to make all the corrections you need.

Unscrew the top and start painting over

assignments you’ve hated for months,

names that gave you heartburn.

Slather gobs on ex-dastardly deeds.

 

You slap the white stuff on everything

you’re done with, or want to be.

Make white clouds all over the page,

covering bills you’ve decided not to pay,

R.S.V.P.s you won’t respond to.

Pretty soon, white to the knuckles,

you’re loving the absence of

demanding things and people.

 

Eradication empowers. Your mood

lightens and pressure drops as you

whiten up. You’re the artist,

adding white space; the domestic

engineer, uncluttering closets. Or, like me,

you’re Lady Macbeth, “Out, out...”

removing those treacherous spots

till there’s nothing left but white on white.

Jean Tupper

from Carquinez Poetry Review

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