This book is a library whittled down to a message in a bottle. Here is a poet who has boldly refused to abide to the expectations of genre—but instead, pushes language and form as a means of asking the most urgent questions. The result is a courageous and kaleidoscopic, at times tender and vulnerable, exploration of motherhood and family—set against the backdrops of science, history, religion, myths, and mathematics. When a poet embarks on a book as myriad and borderless as this one, we are gifted the rare chance to stand at the threshold of a formidable human storm. And from here, it is clear that Goodfellow’s Mendeleev’s Mandala is an electric book. But its lines are not limited to lightning. They move more like thunder, startling, resonant, and suddenly everywhere in the mind at once.
–Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds
From the origin of the number zero to immigration to map making, these poems leap dynamically between ideas and a blazing exploration of language. Folding and unfolding with searing brilliance, these poems reveal our human condition with a down-to-earth sense of humor and wonder. This must-read collection nourishes mind and body and opens up whole new ways of seeing the world around us.
– Judy Halebsky, author of Tree Line
The Insomniac's Weather Report: Winner of the three candles press First Book Award
To say that The Insomniac's Weather Report is exquisitely thrilling poetry doesn't begin to do it justice. Wicked and funny as an encyclopedia of unanswerable koans, elegant as a fifteenth century flowered silk kimono portraying, perhaps, "a hinge on a hingeless door," it is also savage--containing a hidden history of "marriage,/ perpetual stagger of desire/ and resist"--and I found it irresistible, as will you, dear reader.
-Alicia Ostriker, author of The Book of Seventy
This book begins: All poems should be about water. Goodfellow follows herself, shadows herself, watches herself as if herself is herself and all else. She follows her lead: lay awake trying to say what about. Elemental everything (water, fire, earth, air, time & eternity) appear here in all of its paradoxical insistence. It's almost as if we are given the ambiguous gift of a parallel family life, a family full of mysterious strangers, smart, greedy for knowledge, adept with music & the persistence of language.
-Dara Wier, author of Selected Poems
Jessica Goodfellow's debut collection...is admirably diverse in its approach and structures and reads like "a fugue of opposites," integrating the scientist's persistent inquiry and the philospher's rarefied obsessions with this poet's highly tuned and unique sensibility "in a blaze of form and discontent." With their keen intellect and capacity to hold ambiguity, Goodfellow's poems are most successful when their complex abstractions are grounded in the body, image, and the human. For this reader, the power of these poems inhabits that space where logic and reason fail, efforts to name and to place break apart, and chaos threatens to annihilate.
-Mari L'Esperance, author of The Darkened Temple
Published by three candles press.
A Pilgrim's Guide to Chaos in the Heartland displays both the writer's energetic use of language and her intellectual capabilities. This is a manuscript that intertwines bibical mythologies with mathematical history to fascinating effect. Jessica Goodfellow's poetry is invigorating and playful, and I look forward to more work from this promising poet.
-Jeannine Hall Gailey, 2005 Final Judge, Author of Becoming the Villainess
Jessica Goodfellow's poetry is eye-opening. A Pilgrim's Guide to Chaos in the Heartland carries the reader along on an adventure of provocative thoughts. Physics, Mathematics and the Bible are all examined and redefined in human terms through original and distinctive language. This collection will leave you craving more from this uniquely captivating poet.
-Lana Hechtman Ayers, Chapbook Series Editor, Author of Love is a Weed
On sale here: Mayapple Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.jp, Barnes & Noble, SPD
Jessica Goodfellow has a joyous intelligence and electric tongue. Reading this book a first time, my only regret was that I couldn’t read it a second first time. But then I read it a first second time and a first third. You see what I’m doing? I’m reading this book over and over, without ever completely taking it in. I think you will too. And like me, want only one thing from Jessica Goodfellow – more.
– Bob Hicok
I am THRILLED to announce that Japan-based Isobar Press has issued a NEW EDITION of the book as of June 2014. Copies are available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.jp, Amazon.co.uk, and by emailing me from the Contact Info page of this site.
Readers in Japan can order one of the few leftover three candles press copies directly from me by sending me a message.
NEW REVIEW at Coal Hill Review
NEW REVIEW at The Small Press Book Review
NEW REVIEW at Red Paint Hill
NEW REVIEW at maybesopoetry
NEW REVIEW at Wild: A Quarterly
REVIEW at The Pedestal Magazine!
REVIEW at Verse Wisconsin!
Jessica Goodfellow's poems keep secrets. This is necessary to keep her readers safe. At moments her poems are as dangerous as yellow feathers that combust in the mouth. Other times they are as precarious as umbrellas spun from glass. Always they scratch at the door of the sacred, nudge it open a crack, peer in. The world her poems reveal is the natural world revisioned, where waterfalls "sieve body from soul" and rivers indulge in glossolalia. They tempt us with luxurious language, bid us to enter and lose ourselves in the intricate mazes that Goodfellow creates. But be careful. "Some bodies are never recovered."
-Michele Battiste, author of Ink for an Odd